City leaders look forward to Market Common developments, growth in the area

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A nearly $1.2 million project in The Market Common is expected to be open to the public soon. Thunderbolt Park will be an extension of the Grand Park in The Market Common and will provide an additional nearly three miles of multi-use paths for pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.

The City of Myrtle Beach Planning Director Carol Coleman said as of now, it's still on track to open this summer.

The renovations to the old Air Force building to include restrooms and outdoor classrooms is now complete. She said they also want to create an opportunity to preserve some of the Air Force memorabilia collection the city has. Right now, crews are currently finishing up the trails, driveway and parking, and officials said that phase should be done by the end of May.

They are also looking to create a "park-like" atmosphere by adding some swings and benches as well. The trails around the lakes are connected to the paths on Farrow Parkway and those will get you to the East Coast Greenway on Kings Highway, making these parks more accessible to all.

"I think hopefully this summer everything is going to be done, we got three different phases that we're working on. So, everything won't be done in that, one of the things we still have to do is landscape… so some of that will be pushed back a little bit, but we have different funding source for it. Most of what we're doing out there is grant funds, the vast majority were using grant funds. The first one is a PRT Grant, and we're trying to finish before the end of May to satisfy the PRT grant. So that phase should be finished out, the next phase is to get all of the paving down, the asphalt of the multi-purpose path. Then we want to finish the park atmosphere, everything looks really good and is coming along," said Coleman.

The Market Common has been around for a decade now, and with the thousands of people spending time in the area over the weekend, city leaders say they look forward to the continued growth. If you've been around The Market Common area lately, you've probably noticed there's a lot of development going on.

Coleman said they've calculated about 1,800 total housing units over the next few years, just within The Market Common district.

More people leads to more parking. City leaders are already planning on adding extra parking space. One option is to add a third parking level to one of the parking garages. Coleman said some areas haven't been redeveloped since it was an Air Force Base, but they have ideas to turn some of that area into off-site parking for special events.

Construction crews have started clearing the area to begin construction on the southwest corner of Farrow Parkway and Myers Avenue; that space will be a new, multi-family apartment complex called "The Lively."

"What it will benefit to The Market Common… is it creates more of a population base for the shops and the restaurants out there. And that's a lot of the attraction for the people that live there, is that everything is so convenient. And then, of course, we got a campus for Horry-Georgetown Tech, so it opens up the opportunities for people who may be going to school part-time. I think it's a good fit. It was originally, I've said many times before… the overall plan for the area was to be more of an urban village. So, I know some people are concerned with having multi-family there and apartments because of the density factor, but I think when they have on site management and they run a tight ship, I think it will be a good fit," said Coleman.

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