Myrtle Beach approves consultant to help create plan for downtown

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – After looking at five different proposals, Myrtle Beach city leaders have decided to work with Benchmark Planning to help put together a vision for the downtown.

City manager John Pedersen said the company has done similar work for other cities around the country.

"This group did a really good job of communicating the process to us and we thought that would translate to helping council to shape their vision and then also being able to explain that vision to the community," he said.

In terms of cost, members of the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation said they're still working on that. On Tuesday, the Myrtle Beach City Council approved up to $88,000 over the course of six months.

Lauren Clever, DRC executive director, says they're looking to get together a higher-level plan.

"What should it be? What should it look like? It's not necessarily saying 'We need to plop this kind of sign here or this kind of element here,'" Clever said.

Clever also said this could help them look into certain areas of the downtown and identify the different characteristics they have.

Pedersen says this consultant will actively work with the city throughout workshops to help define the vision of the downtown area.

"The consultant in this case is as much an expert in the field, but they're at the same time a facilitator," Pedersen said.

"This is interactive," Clever said. "They are going to physically be here. They're going to be talking to stakeholders. They're going to be talking to city council. There will probably be a city staff team that works with them."

The next steps are meeting with the consultants for Benchmark and having conversations, which Clever said will likely happen by the end of this week.

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