Myrtle Beach city leaders give initial approval for Arts and Innovation District

Myrtle Beach city leaders give initial approval for Arts and Innovation District

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Change could soon be on the horizon for Myrtle Beach as city leaders look to revitalize the downtown area.

Myrtle Beach City Council gave initial approval on Tuesday for an Arts and Innovation District as part of the city’s Downtown Redevelopment Plan.

Kathie Hope is the co-owner of Hopes Healing Hands in downtown Myrtle Beach. She said in just a year and a half she’s seen businesses come and go.

“Some of the businesses have left. It’s a little discouraging because there’s no foot traffic, people aren’t coming,” said Hope.

Hope said it’s frustrating to see empty storefronts next door on a stretch of Broadway Street she believes holds potential.

“The street is so sweet. It’s just getting the energy, getting the positive energy, getting the people in,” said Hope.

City leaders seem to agree. Council members gave the initial green light to develop an Arts and Innovation District centered on Broadway Street, hoping to breathe new life into the area.

“There’s a lot of pieces and parts to it and we talk about the historic element, and we talk about the arts and culture and the innovation, and how do we bring other things to downtown that aren’t there currently," said Lauren Clever, executive director of the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation.

The district aims to attract visitors by creating a more vibrant, walkable destination with things like restaurants, coffee shops and small businesses. City leaders agreed to limit what kind and how many chain stores are allowed to open, and the number of like-businesses near one another.

“I think when you say arts you think vibrant, you think colorful, you think culture and art and things that you see around that particular area,” said Clever.

Hope said she took a leap of faith when deciding to build her business there, and hopes others will do the same.

“I see it growing, I see it becoming a very popular place and I see people walking up and down the street all the time, that’s my vision for Broadway Street," said Hope.

Before any changes are made, the rezoning for an Arts and Innovation District will have to go before council for a second and final vote.

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