Outdoor activities, test kitchen among plans for downtown Conway - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Outdoor activities, test kitchen among plans for downtown Conway

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - If you're driving to or from the beach you've got to pass through Conway. Now the city wants to make it a destination.

There's potential for business in the storefronts, and room for watersports, but some say they'll believe it when they see it. Between two highways you've got the red brick and dark waters, but the City of Conway wants to turn them both into gold.

The city's Mayor Alys Lawson said, "We've identified four major goals to give an economic boost to Conway's community."

Those goals include making the city a food hot spot with a test kitchen; its an idea WMBF News first told you about earlier this year.

Other goals are to increase the residency downtown, incubate small business and to find a niche for outdoor activities and the retailers that profit from them.

"If people see a few things happening, they'll think of us more as a destination," the mayor added.

William Caltabiano and his friend Manon spent the day fishing on the Riverwalk, but they wished for something more. "Canoeing would be nice, but any activity they could bring out here would be great," William said

Right now, unless you've got your own supplies, you can't do much on the river. And a study by the City of Conway showed there's over $2 million in potential rentals and equipment sales they're missing out on.

City leaders are on board to promote downtown, but the real question is how?

Consultant Tripp Muldrow said, "It's certainly going to involve a lot of partners, but the key word is public-private partnership."

It sounds great on paper, but that's not enough for local businesses. During the day, Will Whitson met three Conway business owners - one who liked the idea of expanding business, another looking to expand but couldn't get the ball rolling, and a third who had to downsize their business because things moved so slowly over the summer.

They all said the idea of promoting downtown is great, but until the plan's in action they're skeptical it will happen.

This plan is in it's very early stages. Right now the City of Conway and the Chamber of Commerce are just trying to find what should go downtown. The project may not be shovel ready until 2015 or later.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly