Library, children’s museum to be discussed in Myrtle Beach budget retreat

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach City Council and other city leaders will meet Monday and Tuesday for a two-day budget retreat.

The agenda for the budget retreat includes a Monday morning presentation from Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen, regarding his recommended budget. Funding for several items (list included below) will be discussed.

  • The Budget Making Environment for 2018-19
  • Financial Trends
  • Economic Environment
  • Significant Revenue Policy Changes
  • Progress Updates
  • Council’s Policy Priorities
  • Public Safety
  • Public Buildings & Infrastructure
  • Downtown Revitalization
  • Economic Development

One of the most notable projects on the agenda is the Myrtle Beach Superblock. The downtown area has been an ongoing conversation for city leaders for more than a year starting in January 2017 when then Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes announced the city level buildings in the area to make room for a library and children’s museum.

Myrtle Beach City Council voted to allow the use of eminent domain for property owners in the Superblock who didn’t want to sell. While the city never exercised its right to obtain land through eminent domain, the plan led to protests from community members and business owners hoping to protect their land and businesses. The idea of the new library and children’s museum, particularly how it will be paid for, became an election issue in the 2017 mayoral race.

About 10 months after announcing the plans in a press conference, Rhodes, in a Facebook Live interview with The Sun News, appeared to be questioning the once certain library and children’s museum, saying, “Right now, we really don’t know. It’s just been an option put out there for a library and a children’s museum.” The mayor went on to say that the city is open to public-private partnerships in the downtown development project.

Rhodes was voted out of office in November, and according to a Facebook post from the city, the idea of a new library and children’s museum is back on the table.

Images displayed on the city’s Facebook page show what the new buildings would look like on Kings Highway at Nance Plaza and Ninth Avenue North.

“Revitalization of the central business district has been on the table since last January, with a new library and children’s museum as a catalyst to spur private-sector investment in the area,” the post reads. “The current Chapin Memorial Library, five blocks away, is in a 60-year-old building.”

During the budget retreat, Myrtle Beach City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday at 11 a.m. On the agenda for that meeting is a motion for council to authorize the city manager to issue a request for proposals for a downtown consultant.

The budget retreat is held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and the public is invited to attend.

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