- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - The task force working to maintain security during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest on the Grand Strand is already beginning to plan for next year.

Local media outlets report the Grand Strand Coastal Alliance agreed Wednesday to keep the task force in operation next year. The alliance is made up of representatives from local governments.

The task force was formed after three people were killed in eight separate shootings during the 2014 Bikefest. There were no shooting deaths during this year’s Memorial Day weekend event.

Part of the safety plan was a 23-mile, one-way traffic loop to control traffic and crowds. Tens of thousands of people flock to the Grand Strand on Memorial Day weekend for the Bikefest and the start of the summer beach season.

Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster says one thing the group will continue to work on is communication between the various agencies on the task force.

“Everything ran smoothly. It’s a large event with a lot of agencies with representations from different levels of government,” he said. “Communication is one of the pieces that we can continue to improve on.”

Newly appointed Atlantic Beach Town Manager Benjamin Quattlebaum said things went well in his community.

“We had an excellent three-day weekend with no major incidents and all of the attendees who participated at our site were happy with the way things were run,” he said.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said other communities need to help Atlantic Beach thrive year-round instead of relying so heavily on Bikefest revenue.

Gov. Nikki Haley has said the state will help the town boost its tourism throughout the year if it cancels the Bikefest.

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