Third Moves to First
by Janice McDonald
“Under developed and under utilized,”
- those are the words city planning officials use when they look at 3rd Avenue South.
But all of that is about the change. 3rd Avenue South is being specifically targeted for revitalization by the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation as part of its commitment to breathe new life into what has historically been the heart of the Grand Strand. The street is considered a gateway to the city because of its important east-west access to Highways 17, 501 and Grissom Parkway and the DRC is now playing up that role in its long term goals.The plans call for making changes that will transform the “3rd Avenue South Gateway” into a “welcoming environment” for visitors to the area. “3rd Avenue is considered a major entry point into the downtown,” explains DRC Executive Director David Sebok, “Gateways are important by the nature that they give first impressions to visitors. This area has seen some loss of business and we’re working to create a more pedestrian and customer friendly area.”
Created in 1999 by the Myrtle Beach City Council to breathe life back into downtown, the DRC is using something called the “Pavilion Area Master Plan” or “P.A.M.P.,” as its guide for helping to revitalize the area. P.A.M.P. is a multi-tiered redevelopment strategy which encompasses the region from 6th Avenue South to 16th Avenue North and from the ocean front to Broadway and Oak Street – a total of 300 acres of land - including one and a half miles of ocean front. Third Avenue South falls in a region the DRC calls the “South Mixed Use District” (Kings Highway, 8th Avenue North, Ocean Boulevard and 6th Avenue South), an area which has long played second fiddle to the more centrally located Pavilion area. The city believes things will even out when the public sees the sort of changes on tap for the region. The DRC will be seeking input into the improvement strategy for Third Avenue South from business owners along the corridor, but it is expected
that the planners will be using the changes made earlier on Mr. Joe White Avenue as the guide. During that project, significant landscaping was done, including lining of the street with palmetto trees and utilizing bricks in the walkways to create aesthetically pleasing patterns. Utilities were also buried underground.
Private businesses along the thoroughfare reacted to their neighborhood’s new look by investing in improvements of their own and the city anticipates a similar response along 3rd Avenue South. “We expect properties that are unutilized, will be improved by the private property business owners along the lines of what occurred along Mr. Joe White Avenue,” predicts Sebok. “There, we had several small businesses make renovations, expansions and improvements to properties. All around, it presented a more pedestrian friendly, customer environment.” The plans for giving 3rd Avenue South its face lift will be drawn up this winter, with actual work slated to begin in the fall of 2006.