Committee meets to improve look of Highway 501

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For years drivers have talked and complained about the look of Highway 501, the highway that takes locals and tourists directly into the heart of Myrtle Beach.

Now for the first time, concrete plans to address those concerns are hitting the pavement, and motorists who drive on Highway 501 say there are many different issues they hope will be discussed.

"Parts of it are prettier than others," admits Aletia Houston, who just moved into the area. "I've noticed and I don't think anyone maintains the areas on the roadside. The grass is pretty overgrown, and the medians, and kind of on the side of the road."

Myrtle Beach resident Renea Lyons says it should be a big concern for the city since Myrtle Beach draws in millions of people each year.

"Because there's tourists down here and a lot of visitors," said Lyons, who drives on Highway 501. "You know I don't understand why it's a lot of abandoned buildings."

A committee formally called the Highway 501 Corridor Committee will come together Wednesday afternoon to talk about those issues and other concerns about Highway 501, but the discussions will only cover the portion of the highway that rests in city limits.

The committee's plans and suggestions will only apply to Highway 501 between the Intracoastal Waterway and Broadway Street in the downtown area.

The Highway 501 Corridor Committee will also discuss and come up with new standards and future guidelines for the businesses and areas along the busy roadway. One of the new rules will make sure all the land and businesses are in good shape and landscaped.

When it comes to the empty lots scattered along the highway, there will be a new ordinance to bring in more quality development, intended to increase the value of Highway 501. Then once new business comes in, there will be specific standards concerning how those buildings will look and be constructed.

This committee is the result of a group effort; Horry County and Myrtle Beach officials, business owners and the South Carolina Department of Transportation will all sit at the same table. Adam Parness, who will chair the Highway 501 Corridor Committee, says this will take the roadway in the right direction.

"This whole design effort is to improve the way things look," boosts Parness. "To improve our look to the city, to the residents, and as well as all the tourists that come and visit us."

The Highway 501 Corridor Committee will meet for the first time Wednesday afternoon, at 2 p.m. at the Myrtle Beach City Hall building. Other meetings will be held every third Wednesday of the month.

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