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City leaders talk with firms to connect historic downtown area with Riverwalk

(Source: Lisa Gresci) (Source: Lisa Gresci)
(Source: Lisa Gresci) (Source: Lisa Gresci)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - City leaders talk with firms to connect the historic downtown area with the Riverwalk.

Downtown Conway, is historic. The shops are family owned and operated and the Waccamaw River, which is only two blocks away from it all. Now, in the New Year, the city wants to see those two entities become one.

Downtown Conway is much more than shops, businesses and restaurants. For locals, it has a living presence of its own.

“It is something that we kind of consider the heartbeat, of who we are,” Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy, said.

“A lot of downtown merchants like myself, we invest our lives in it,” Matthew Varnadore, the owner of Waccamaw Outfitters, added.

After years of anticipation, the city of Conway is acting on this belief and bringing in national firms, to help bring downtown Conway up to its potential.

“We’ve got all of the natural ingredients and all we need is that guidance to shine that gem that is ours,” Blain-Bellamy said.

“It is a hidden gem, I've said that for a while now, that we have a unique opportunity with the Waccamaw River,” Varnadore explained.

Waccamaw Outfitters, as you can tell by the name, is a business that markets itself around the Waccamaw River, offering river tours, and kayak and pontoon rentals and just about anything else you may need to take on the river.

Varnadore says his visitors always want to know more about the river, but what they don't know is that it's just around the corner.

“They want to know where the river is, and where is the river walk. And we kind of have to give round about directions on how to get there,” Varnadore said.

One of the major points of today's kick off meeting, was to talk about a solution to this very problem.

Not only did council go back and forth discussing ways to make these directions make more sense, they want people to enjoy the walk.

‘When we get trails and landscaping and those kinds of things in place. What we forget about is the two block walk from one location to another, and rather how wonderful it is to enjoy that walk between the two places.

Now though connecting the river walk and downtown is perhaps the biggest concern, other plans include making downtown more apartment, and hotel friendly. A final outline of the plans will be ready by the end of March and city officials anticipate to start seeing changes, by spring.

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