City officials discuss eminent domain, Superblock at two-day retreat

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The use of eminent domain may be taken off the table for the remaining Superblock properties.

It was just one of the topics the Myrtle Beach City Council discussed at the first day of its two-day retreat on Tuesday.

"We have directed staff to put it on the agenda for the next meeting so we can get rid of it," Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said. "It's time. It has been a cloud that has been hanging over some of the businesses in the Superblock area and it's one that's been unnecessary until now."

House Parts was one of the two businesses threatened with eminent domain. Owners of the store said they're glad the discussion is back on the table, but they're not celebrating just yet.

"The noose is still around my neck as long as eminent domain is out there," co-owner Lacy Paulussen said.

The city council approved the use of eminent domain to acquire Superblock properties last February. That council was headed by former mayor John Rhodes and three former council members who did not win re-election last November.

Paulussen said for the past year she was worried to invest in her business because she didn't know if it would be taken away.

"I feel we'll be able to be more of a positive business in the city again because we won't be nervous about what we invest in," she said.

"I'll be waiting with baited breath. I still feel like I'm on death row waiting for the governor to call. I'm hopeful that the city council will take action to rectify what occurred in the past," co-owner of House Parts and Lacy Paulussen's husband, Andrew Paulussen, said.

City leaders say rescinding eminent domain doesn't mean they're no longer moving forward with plans to renovate the Superblock. Over a year ago, it was announced a new library and children's museum would move  into the area. Those plans were put on hold following the outcome of November's election.

Council will vote on the eminent domain issue at the next council meeting on Feb. 13.

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