MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A lot of people avoid downtown Myrtle Beach because it can be tough to find a place to park - especially in the summer.
But the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation has a plan in the works to add four-to-six small, public parking garages.
The MBDRC says it's one thing to get people to visit Myrtle Beach. But they can't enjoy the amenities and spend money at downtown businesses if they can't get out of their car.
The group wants visitors to fall in love with downtown Myrtle Beach. But if they can't find anywhere to park they go elsewhere and fall in love with the Market Common or Broadway at the Beach.
So smaller public garages around the city would be a huge plus for downtown businesses. Each parking space costs about $25,000, not including buying or renting the cost of land. The MBDRC's plan involves working with a developer, like a commercial building, hotel, or time share property which would do a portion of the project. But the garage could pay for itself since it will generate money quickly.
Employees that work downtown say parking garages would be welcome. "It'd be a lot safer than these little side parking... In the alleyways," says Haley Holtzclaw, and employee at the $9.99 Discount Store. "Just to make sure your stuff doesn't get stole, your car doesn't get broke into, your tires don't get flat, your windows don't get broken out of. There's just so many things you've got to look at as far as when you go to park your car in a little rinky dink parking spot"
Another thing the MBDRC discussed at its meeting Thursday was the empty lot on 9th Avenue North, the site of the former Pavilion Park.The vacant lot does not do much for surrounding businesses, and they could use a push. But the City of Myrtle Beach does not own the property, it's owned by Burroughs and Chapin. So they plan to develop ideas by talking with nearby property owners, the public, and on social media. The city would present ideas for that site to Burroughs and Chapin.
One idea I heard a lot of today was to bring back the Pavilion, and that's an option – or at least a carnival-of-sorts to occupy the lot during the peak season. Members of the MBDRC say it would provide a type of band aid to make up for the economic loss during the slow season.
Another way discussed to help the area of 9th Avenue North – the Boardwalk. It's been so successful there was talk of extending it down to Family Kingdom. People who work on 9th Avenue North, just past where the Board walk ends love the idea because it would bring in more business.
Holtzclaw says people don't ever go past the Boardwalk, but they would if it was extended. "It ends right there [9th Avenue North]. Half the people don't even come up here. They'll start right there, turn around and go right back down. That's as far as they go."
The MBDRC will meet again with a few key stakeholders from the Myrtle Beach area to discuss other ideas for the vacant lot.