Myrtle Beach city leaders plan boardwalk expansion

Published: May. 2, 2014 at 9:26 AM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2014 at 4:49 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's official. City Leaders have plans to expand the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk in the downtown area.

On Friday, the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation held a meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the revitalization of the downtown area. Among the items mentioned, David Sebok, with the DRC, confirmed the plan to expand the boardwalk.

"We have permission," says Sebok. "We know about where it would go. We've met with some of the property owners, because it has to be designed and built a little bit differently than what we have been able to do so far, because of the property."

The Boardwalk will expand where it ends now at 2nd Avenue North, down to Family Kingdom on 4th Avenue South, and wrapped up to Ocean Boulevard, though the plans for the expansion are in the very early stages.  

One stakeholder called the space between 2nd and 9th Avenues North "underutilized".

Every one that spoke voiced concern about the boarded buildings and deteriorating hotels plaguing the area.

The boardwalk has had success since it was built, the expansion is expected to turn things around. At the moment, the boardwalk expansion project is slated to get started in 2018.

Sebok says the DRC would like Myrtle Beach city leaders to make it a higher priority, and fund it sooner so that work can get started earlier.

Some business owners agreed the biggest issue plaguing downtown is the lack of a big attraction at the former site of the Pavilion park. They all agreed something needs to be done there - and soon.

There has been a lot of discussion about what should go in the empty lot.

People mentioned another park or carnival, perhaps, a summer-long art festival.

An interesting concept mentioned, was to put a unique attraction, something so rare it would draw in peopleEven if it is temporary, a band aid solution is better than nothing, because the area is plummeting.

"It's been that way for a long time," Sebok commented. "It didn't happen overnight. The deterioration of what's referred to as the 'South Mixed Use' area - the area from the former Pavilion site - 7th Avenue North down to 2nd Avenue North, and from Flagg Street to Chester Street," he said.

Sebok said mixed- areas bring so much potential to an area when they are utilized.

The Market Common, not part of Downtown Myrtle Beach, is a mixed-use area. Shops, restaurants, apartments and homes are blended together - which makes for a great community.

The south mixed-use area needs serious redeveloping and renovation.

"There are two major opportunity areas," Sebok continued. "The Pavilion area itself, which is owned by B&C (Burrough's and Chapin), and we need to work with them I think to have a really good thing happen there. The other is this mixed-use area, that just - why wouldn't you want to live in a nice neighborhood two blocks from the ocean, the boardwalk, between the Pavilion site and the Family Kingdom which is a thriving area now," he added.

The Downtown Redevelopment Corporation wants to collect up to $1 million, a year to improve the downtown Myrtle Beach area.

Part of the plan is to use some of the money to increase safety. It would put more police officers along Ocean Boulevard.

The DRC wants to add more patrols near the water during the busiest part of the year, the summer months.

There are other benefits downtown Myrtle Beach could see if the proposed tax is passed.

At this point, there are 29 items on the wish list, and it covers all type of improvements.

Other options being tossed around include: public parking garages to make parking downtown easier, a trolley to take local residents and tourists to all the hotspots, and official gateways that lead to the beach on 7th, 8th, and 9th Avenue North.

These ideas for new attractions: a roller coaster, water park, and skateboard park have all been mentioned, as well.

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