MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There are new details on the future of the recently voted on Myrtle Beach Performing Arts Center. The city council vote this week is not a commitment to build the center next to the convention center, but it is being considered another step closer to making it happen.
Council is spending $200,000 to update the current drawings of the $10 million expansion of the convention center. The current ones were put together years ago, and now need to be changed for new building codes. This is to ensure the blueprints will be ready for construction as soon as council gives the go ahead.
Even with all the preliminary work in place, it still doesn't mean it's time for construction. Council has slated the project to happen in the 2015/2016 year budget, but next year there will have to be another budget vote to keep it on, so it could be pushed back. Council members may seem to be "dragging their feet" on the project despite the majority vote in favor of the arts center, but City Spokesperson Mark Kruea says the referendum you voted on was really only a gauge of interest.
"It was not a, 'yes you will build it,'" explained Kruea. "It was a permission to exceed the debt capacity if you needed to."
Some council members say it's not a question of if the addition to the convention center will happen, but when. Recent events have pushed the performing arts center project down on council's priority list.
"City council has a lot on its plate right now," said Kruea. "There are a lot of issues that are coming up over the next year, there are pressures that city council will need to deal with financially."
The top priority right now seems to be preventing next year's Memorial Day weekend violence. While council members are considering how to pay for a solution to handle the holiday weekend next year, the performing arts center will just have to wait. Council wants to make sure it will even have enough money leftover to build and operate a center.
If the current timeline works out, then they will get the project moving next year. The actual construction should take about 18 months, and the arts center will open in 2017 or 2018.