Myrtle Beach looks to increase police presence near downtown

Myrtle Beach looks to increase police presence near downtown

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Increased police presence could be coming to the area of 8th Avenue North to 6th Avenue South, east of Kings Highway.

The city of Myrtle Beach is looking for a location for a police substation in the south mixed-use area to curb crime, said Mark Kruea, city spokesman.

Kruea said the city needs more room at the Ted Collins Law Enforcement Center, and some functions may be better-suited downtown.

No location has been selected yet and there is no firm time table.

However, the funding for the station would likely come from a $10 million loan fund the city discussed in April.

The Myrtle Beach City Council considered a motion to approve a loan pool of $10 million to benefit the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation and its work to revitalize the south mixed-use area April 14.

Chairman Chuck Martino said this was the first time a loan like this is being considered in the City of Myrtle Beach and credited city council as the driving force to get the project and money rolling.

The DRC is acting as the agent putting the plans into action.

The motion would allow the city to enter into an agreement with South Atlantic Bank for a $10 million loan pool for unsecured loans to help redevelop blighted properties.

So, if a property in the south mixed-use area is blighted or unacceptable and the owner refuses to keep it up, the DRC will be able to go after these property owners.

Martino says starting December 1, city code enforcement will kick into high gear.

City council will then condemn these properties if the owners refuse to pick up. Then, the DRC will access the loan pool to clear up the property.

The property will then be redeveloped, or help for future redevelopment projects, or used to create some kind of public space like a park. The old bungalows that are run-down, would potentially be moved to a neighborhood to preserve part of Myrtle Beach's history.

Martino says blocking off more side-streets to create a pedestrian friendly "mall" area is definitely a possibility for redeveloping some of the blighted areas. And he says pulling in an anchor restaurant like a Cheesecake Factory or a Dave and Busters is not out of the question. Restaurants like these are known to attract more year-round business growth.

Martino says their goal is not to replicate the Market Common or Broadway at the Beach. The DRC's goal is to create a downtown that is more attractive for people to visit, work, and live.

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