Horry County considering new satellite government building

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Some of the oldest Horry County-operated buildings are spread out down 21st Avenue in Myrtle Beach. Now, the County Council has the option to spend the money to renovate them separately, or to build a brand new satellite government campus and put everything in one spot.

The satellite campus would be "for people in the central coastal portion of Horry County," said Horry County Councilman Marion Foxworth. "That is the face of Horry County, and I think that we can do better than what we have now."

Now the Horry County Council is leaning toward the idea of building a new multi-million dollar building for government services. This would hold the Department of Health, county services like the auditor's and treasurer's office, a magistrate court, possibly the Department of Motor Vehicles, and even the Myrtle Beach Library.

The thought is that it will be easier for you when it comes time to pay your taxes, get a license, or handle government business. Since the Myrtle Beach-area satellite offices are spread out now, this would make your access simple and in the same spot. Now you can see people walking back and forth across 21st Avenue, just trying to get everything done.

Local taxpayers say the way it's set up now is a safety issue.

"It's one of the busiest crossroads down here," said Ronald Watson. "So you know you sit there and figure with all this traffic, especially tourists, they don't know the area. They're going to be looking around for what's around."

The early cost estimates for this building are between $8 and $10 million, but it's not just about easy access. It could also be a big money maker. Foxworth says if this project is put in the right place, it could bring a big benefit of business.

It would be consistent business with the couple hundred people working in the building every weekday, from 9 to 5, for 12 months out of the year. Plus there will be locals coming in and out to pay their taxes.

One of the proposed areas is between the Myrtle Beach Train Depot and the Myrtle Beach City Service building off of Oak Street. This location would put these people within walking distance of the different businesses downtown.

The center could be "a tremendous shot in the arm to downtown redevelopment and the environs," said Foxworth. "You would create pedestrian traffic."

The talks for this government center are in the preliminary stages, and no official location has been set. But the idea is similar to the Horry County Government and Justice Center in downtown Conway. The building is considered a big part of business in the downtown area, and the same thing could happen with a large satellite campus in the Myrtle Beach area.

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