MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, or DRC, which works with the city of Myrtle Beach to revitalize its downtown area, considers disbanding.
DRC members discussed the possibility of calling it quits during their June meeting and then cancelled their future summer meetings.
City spokesperson, Mark Kruea says the DRC has made a lot of improvements in Myrtle Beach over the past 20 years, but now its members are asking, ‘what’s next?’
However, even if the DRC separates, it would not affect the future of the downtown master plan.
“I think the DRC is ready to look to that transition how it or a new group or new version of itself may be able to help the city move forward with the downtown master plan,” Kruea says.
Should the DRC officially disband, its staff members would continue to focus on the master plan. The city hopes a new group made up of business owners forms organically to assist the city with the effort.
“We’d like to get the business community actively involved in that. We can do so much, but we also need the private sector investment to do the rest of it, and I think once the private sector sees all the city is going to be doing, I think the private sector will pick up,” Kruea said.
Current DRC members would become Myrtle Beach city employees and continue to work on the master plan on the city’s behalf.
Lauren Clever, executive director of the DRC, wrote the following to Myrtle Beach City Council members explaining the possible separation:
“As you may be aware, the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation Board of Directors has lately been discussing its future, specifically how it can best be of service to Myrtle Beach’s exciting plans for revitalizing the core business area. At its June meeting, the Board talked about several options and seemed to favor a scenario where a new group could arise organically from the business and commercial community that would continue the enhanced focus on the downtown area.
The Board as a whole is excited by this new implementation strategy for the downtown and is pleased to have laid the foundation for this progress over the past 20 years. The Downtown Redevelopment Corporation has been instrumental in the implementation of the Pavilion Area Master Plan which led to the transformation on Ocean Boulevard, the installation of underground utilities, improved beautification of the streetscapes throughout the hotel and entertainment district, the creation and improvements at Plyler Park, and the construction of a 1.5mile Boardwalk. It also has been instrumental in creating events that draw crowds, locals and visitors in the shoulder season to continue the growth and development of the business community into a year-round destination.
I anticipate that the DRC Board will consider a motion to transform itself at some date in the near future, so that the momentum that the City has is continued and the engagement of the private sector occurs so to align to the vision of the Downtown Master Plan. This assumption is based on today’s intensified focus for an Arts and Innovation District as part of the larger downtown master plan, the commitment that you are all working towards in taking our downtown to the next level with real public private investment, and the level of commitment that I, Staff and the DRC Board have for the future of the downtown.
Based on this new direction and strategy, I have had discussions with the City Manager about incorporating the current DRC’s staff into the City’s staff to ensure there is no gap in effort in the implementation of the downtown master plan that you have already initiated. Staff will carry on the leadership of the current City Implementation Team and will continue efforts to enhance the business community’s growth, development and success that we are already committed to accomplishing.
While I cannot predict what the DRC Board will do at the next Board meeting, its discussion in June certainly contemplated the idea that our downtown would benefit from a transition period in which an organic group of private-sector partners could emerge that would best serve the city’s plans for the areas identified in Myrtle Beach’s Downtown Master Plan. I extend to you all an invite to attend the next DRC Board meeting to participate and listen to the discussion. I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the leadership of Chairman Martino and the Board Members and their foresight to move towards the future.”