NORTH MYRTLE BEACH. SC (WMBF) – Improvements are headed to Main Street and the Horseshoe area. The changes will help the area accommodate popular events, concerts and festivals.
Many business owners are welcoming changes to Main Street.
"It's always nice when they're doing stuff on Main Street," said Richard Eberhard, the owner of International Cafe.
The nearly $785,000 project will include restrooms, new landscaping and street-scaping, sidewall structures that will both hold landscaping and serve as extra seating, and a permanent stage.
City officials say it cost the city money to keep setting up a stage for each event, and the city was also able to save money by designing the plans in-house through its public works and planning departments.
Eberhard says Main Street businesses have always welcomed the opportunity.
"The city would come down and say 'Do you want to do a concert series?' and we'd say yes, they say 'Do you want to do more festivals?' and we'd say yes… and I think the tourists realize that Main Street in North Myrtle Beach is a destination to come to," Eberhard explained.
Many businesses could agree that there's a growing trend on Main Street and say business seems to be getting better and better as the years pass. Some say this is especially true on concert days.
"We're up 50 percent from a normal day whenever they do the concerts," Eberhard said.
"It was a thing to always come in before the concert and come in after.. .so this being here… it's going to be a staple and bring people in constantly," added Tony Rawls, the manager of Bargain World. The store just suffered severe flooding damage, and he feels these improvements are coming at an ideal time.
Having a permanent set up is something business owners feel will answer a lot of questions.
"Not all of the questions of where's the concert going to be going on? Now it's right down the street…you know where it's at," Rawls said.
Spokesperson for the city, Patrick Dowling, believes this project will highlight the area as even more of a city focal point.
"Horseshoe is a tradition where people started out just driving down there, making a U-turn, saying hi to everybody - sort of cruising if you will, it was part of the networking there. It's become something else now; it's become more of a focal point for entertainment and people going to the beach for beach access," Dowling said.
The project is set to be completed by spring of 2016. Dowling said more than 20 concerts are already on schedule, half of which will be on the new stage.
Dowling said the city also hopes the new stage will attract more local groups who want to showcase their talents to the community.