A swing bridge has long been the only way to get onto the island of Sunset Beach. "The thing that didn't change much is the old bridge was about the same as it was back the first I ever saw it,” said longtime resident Frank Nesmith. Times are changing. Construction is in full gear on a new, much bigger bridge. It's just one example of how the town of 3,700 year round residents is growing. “You have to have an infrastructure to have police, fire, and medical facilities available for around 12-thousand or more because that's what we get up when the tourists come in,” said Mayor Ron Klein. Mayor Klein added what makes Sunset Beach unique is its focus on the family. “You don't find any high-rises, you don't find anything all bright and flashy." With so many beach towns suffering from erosion, that isn't the case in Sunset Beach. An unmistakable part of this town is found at the west side of the island, called Bird Island. The natural conservatory used to be an island but is now connected to Sunset Beach. Longtime resident Frank Nesmith played a big part in getting the state to buy the land to preserve it. “I've been walking the place for 50 years or more, and very seldom to I ever get over to the island that I don't see something that I’ve never seen before." Nesmith has lived here for 35 years with his wife Cornelia and is happy to call Sunset Beach home. "I traveled all over the country and I kept coming back here and you know something, it's the prettiest place in the world." Sunset beach was incorporated in 1963.
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