MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Downtown Redevelopment Corporation is holding four collaborative subcommittee meetings to better identify the needs and strengths in each district in downtown Myrtle Beach.
The topic of Friday's meeting was the Family Kingdom Entertainment District. It is considered Second Avenue South until Sixth Avenue South, and from Ocean Boulevard to Kings Highway.
The Family Kingdom Amusement Park serves as the main anchor in the area. Some DRC board members and those in the business and real estate community attended the round-table discussion to talk about strengths and future opportunities for growth.
Mike Hobeika owns property in the Superblock area in downtown and believes what happens in the Family Kingdom Entertainment District impacts his area too.
He said the Family Kingdom is one of the last entertainment districts left in Myrtle Beach.
"It's also located on the water, which is something unique from the others. Therefore, we have possibilities there we don't have elsewhere, as well as we have so many tourists that are congregated in that area that feed off of Family Kingdom and use it as a source to drive those motels," Hobeika said. "Therefore, it's a symbiotic relationship with family motels and amusements to keep these things together." .
There is a rich, historic nature in the Family Kingdom people discussed during the meeting, and one they don't want the city to ignore.
"Now we are starting to see once again that families are what we predominately want in Myrtle Beach," Hobeika, who is a Myrtle Beach native, said. "There's that large rollercoaster and the kids would run up off the beach and sand off their feet and everybody would run and get an ice cream and listen to that sound of the rollercoaster on the tracks. It made everyone smile."
For decades, families turned to the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, but Hobeika noticed times have changed.
"Well, now there is less people running up off the beach and the arcades need more attraction and attention and it's time we improve those areas and improve the overall city," he said.
Other topics discussed during the meeting revolved around the issue of parking, and one idea was to remove all of the underutilized surface parking lots and build a five-story parking garage.
The only vacant building is the previous Club Heat on Yaupon Drive, now up for lease, and two vacant properties on Second Avenue.
The next DRC collaborative meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 10a.m. at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot. The public is encouraged to attend.
Following the meetings, the DRC will present all information to the Myrtle Beach City Council.