Myrtle Beach Executives Provide Update on Downtown Revitalization Efforts

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Renovation and revitalization are two big things happening in downtown Myrtle Beach.

On Thursday, city officials unveiled their latest efforts to beautify the neighborhood and make getting around easier.

Council members hosted a workshop at the John T. Rhodes Myrtle Beach Sports Center, and the agenda focused on city revitalization efforts for the downtown core.

“This is a very important day,” said Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune. “For the community, for the council.

Blueprints for the project were passed in 2019, but Bethune said Thursday was another opportunity to further share the progress city leaders have made with the plans.

One of those plans is for the Broadway Theater, which officials say construction documents are complete with. However, there are more items to check off their to-do list before they can make any offers.

Improvements to the Myrtle Beach boardwalk are also underway. The project has been a major topic of discussion among residents and tourists alike who want to see the wooded structure repaired.

“It’s a bit difficult,” said Christian Poteet, who is visiting the region.

Design firm Pike McFarland Hall Associates Inc. on Thursday presented board members with plans to breathe new life into the boardwalk.

A key ingredient in this idea? Fake wood.

Designers propose to use synthetic wood, which has a longer service life compared to natural wood.

A city spokesperson said council members had not made any final decisions on whether to go ahead with the use of synthetic wood.

One of the most important and discussed updates from the workshop circled the roads.

The city has already made recommendations to the South Carolina Department of Transportation with ways to better connect neighboring communities to the Arts and Innovation District.

These ideas include creating intersections and pedestrian walkways so that people can easily navigate the neighborhood.

This is in the same area where the DOT is expected to realign Hwy 501 to the intersection of Broadway Street, eventually connecting to 7th Avenue North at Oak Street.

Members of the Downtown Development Project said SCDOT has accepted their ideas that will make the Arts and Innovation District more pedestrian-friendly.

“In the Arts and Innovation District, traffic patterns are what I call wobbly,” said Lauren Clever, director of downtown development. “The intersections are very strange, they are inclined oddly. We are really trying to align these roads so that they make sense. Whether it’s traffic light intersections or four-lane stop signs with significant pedestrian markings on the streets.

Clever says infrastructure as a whole is a key component of successful communities.

“We need the right infrastructure,” she said. “It’s about water, sewerage, storm sewers and our roads, as well as the pedestrian and cycling connection that we want to include. This has always been a goal and a vision for this field. There are a lot of moving parts. And the 501 realignment project is a key project. This removes some very heavy traffic from this small shopping area and diverts it to the waterfront as another major corridor to the town of Myrtle Beach in the downtown waterfront.

Clever says the city is awaiting a response from SCDOT when designs reflecting their recommendations are updated.

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