Plans to put new parks, bike trails in Market Common gain tracti - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Plans to put new parks, bike trails in Market Common gain traction

Master Plan for the Myrtle Beach Grand Park Linear Park Expansion. Source: DDC Engineers/LandArt Master Plan for the Myrtle Beach Grand Park Linear Park Expansion. Source: DDC Engineers/LandArt
Aerial concept image of the park. Source: DDC Engineers/LandArt Aerial concept image of the park. Source: DDC Engineers/LandArt
Trail master plan concept image. Source: Thomas and Hutton Trail master plan concept image. Source: Thomas and Hutton

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - New parks complete with bike trails have been envisioned for the Market Common area since 1993.

In addition, many other goals were part of the master plan. Sports and recreation activities revolve around Grand Park.

Now, a place to relax is the focus for Linear Park. It's a narrow stretch of green space that will run along Farrow Parkway, from what will be the new Vinings apartment complex and crossing over the iTAP entrance. The mastermind behind much of this plan is Jack Walker, the city's planning director. Walker says the goal of Linear Park is to give you the feeling you're strolling through a meadow. It's more about a beautiful environment that anyone can enjoy at their own pace.

Organizers said not everyone is going to be able to grasp the impact of the park, but they are assured it is something that developing apartment complexes, neighborhoods, and retail spaces can sell as an attractive hook.

“Until we get this park in so you can actually get out there and enjoy it, it's hard for these developers to realize they're going to be next to this asset. It's not like they're going to be just looking into the woods,” Walker says. He hopes this park will actually help spur some development nearby that's been on the back burner.

Moreover, plans to connect park and bike trails to Emory Road to Harrelson Boulevard and Grissom Parkway, with a multi-purpose path for enough space to bike and walk and stroll are in the works. It's part of the city's efforts to make Myrtle Beach more bicycle-friendly.

Right now, the city's focus is on paving three miles of paths in the Market Common area over the course of the next six to eight months. Paving could start in the next two weeks for the segment in Linear Park. Then the benches and lights will go in.

One couple that comes to visit Myrtle Beach every year to see family says they go out of their way to drive to the Market Common with their bicycles, because riding downtown is just too dangerous. Adding more paths would be another great addition to the area, they say.

“It would be great here if we could extend this biking path,” says Edna Young. “This whole, having another park down there would be wonderful. Because it's kinda boring going around the same thing all the time. Although it's beautiful. Another route, another park, more bike lanes would be wonderful.”

Right now, $800,000 is budgeted for this park and its trails. The funding is coming from the Airbase Redevelopment Authority, the city, and the state's federal transportation funds.

As a long-term goal, this park could eventually be a large trail head for the bigger picture plan. The city's planning director says there's a piece of county property that is adjacent to the park that could be used as a parking lot.

What looks like large ditches or streams are currently serving the purpose of dispersing rain water so Farrow Parkway doesn't flood. But down the road, Walker says they hope you can relax on the water. Eventually they want to make it possible for you to canoe, paddle board, or kayak on the ponds. And there's a little building on the property that could be used as home base to rent out any equipment.

There's a line item in the Capital Improvements Budget for an additional $1.2 million for this park. Even though that is in the budget, Walker says they probably won't see that money for a few more years to help with the extra projects.

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