MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – For Myrtle Beach city officials, the way to improve the reputation of areas like the downtown Superblock is to fix it up.
That very topic was discussed during an open-table talk at Wednesday's meeting of the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation.
Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pederson noted that people haven't liked what has happened in the downtown over the last 10 years. To revitalize it, different strategies are required, he added.
"I can't think of any other community that has revitalized its downtown where the public center hasn't taken the first step," Pedersen said.
He pointed to The Market Common as a prime example of what the city would like to see happen after the new Chapin Memorial Library and children's museum become a reality in the Superblock.
On Wednesday morning, the project was opened up to local firms interested in being the one behind it.
Pedersen said those RFQs are due back sometime in September. Currently, there is no concrete timeline for the work to begin.
However, Pedersen noted the plan is to start demolishing the Superblock's existing buildings after the beginning of 2018.
He added that there are three more properties the city wants to acquire for the project, one of them being the property adjacent to the former Club Ibiza.
"Ultimately the plan for that and the old Club Ibiza, which we have acquired, is to demolish the structures and use that area for parking," Pedersen said.
The other part of this revitalization that also came up in conversation Wednesday was owning police presence downtown.
"We recognize the need for having more police officers and we probably have five or six times more officers on the weekends than we did before Easter," Pedersen said.
According to the city manager, that includes having a police substation downtown and dealing with what he called the psychology behind crime, to remove temptation.
"I think that physical structure there is something that we remind people that even if they can't see a police officer at that time, that one is going to walk into that office shortly," Pedersen said. "It's just a reminder to folks that this is an area that we are very serious about controlling crime. "
While city officials are actively looking for a permanent location for the station, they are also considering a more temporary option that will be set up in the old Pavilion site.