MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A chunk of Myrtle Beach's budget for 2016-2017 is dedicated to the improvement of community gathering places.
Many of you came to city officials asking to keep local centers open longer. Some centers cut back on hours in response to the recession. Now that the economy is back up, Myrtle Beach's population is growing and the city's responding again.
Increased foot traffic at the Base Recreation Center by Market Common and the library in Chapin Park area calls for the centers to be open longer.
"One of the ideas that came from one of the town meeting we held in the south end with the Market Common crowd they said, 'Gee, we'd really like to have the Base Recreation Center open five days a week, and we were able to do that in this year's budget," Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said.
It will cost the city $73,000 to extend Chapin Library hours and $49,000 to do the same at the Base Recreation Center. The city is adding 10 full-time positions, two of those being a library technician and youth coordinator.
The popular Mary C. Canty Recreation Center and Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium are also up for renovations. The rec center is supposed to get $3 million worth of new roofing and lighting. A little under half a million is expected to be used this coming fiscal year, the rest should be done in 2017 and 2018 fiscal year.
The Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium has been around since the 1960s. The stadium is home to Myrtle Beach High School's football team and holds other sporting events year around, so it gets a lot of use.
The city has known for a while it was going to budget renovations but didn't know exactly what until now. One thousand more seats, a press box and updated bleachers are making up the $4.5 million makeover.
That cost has gone down since the original estimations. The Myrtle Beach spokesman says he hopes an updated stadium would attract more competitions to the field.
"The plan would be to start work as soon as this year's football season ends so that we can have it done by next football season...to basically have a refurbished stadium by then," Kruea said.
Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium is belongs to Myrtle Beach and Horry County Schools. Kruea said the school district will have to provide a portion of money as well for the project to happen.