Though in general we are in favor of saving our region’s history told through outdated buildings, we’re a bit flummoxed when it comes to the 21,500-square-foot ticket lobby of the old terminal.
It’s hard to see how that well-worn plain vanilla interior could be considered in some future decade a historic landmark that was worth saving. But people likely said the same thing about other structures, such as early 20th century gas stations, that have since become iconic symbols of a transportation era.
The current discussion is not about historic preservation, however. It is about using the structure as a revenue source by finding businesses to occupy it as a commercial space. That was the original plan for the old terminal, perhaps for use as office space or the Transportation Security Administration.
It’s not hard to understand why the quest for businesses evoked only two inquiries. Envisioning that space as something other than what we’ve always known it as takes a heaping helping of creative vision.
When the issue came before the county’s administration committee in August, committee Chairman Harold Worley said: “For what it’s worth, that ticket area needs to be torn down. That’s a waste of taxpayers money to put good money after bad. You need to tear that thing down and clear it up over there.”
As reporter Jason Rodriguez wrote last week, even Larry Bragg, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board, thinks that might not be a bad idea, as long as whatever ends up in that space matches the aesthetics of the new $118 million terminal.
“That would obviously be different than the design we approved,” Bragg said. “The plan was always to utilize it in certain ways.”
Whatever the group decides, we applaud the effort to pull Myrtle Beach and Horry County representatives together to serve on an ad hoc committee to make a final decision, not just because it illustrates a desire to be thoughtful about the next move, but also because it demonstrates collaboration between two entities that have sometimes seen each other as adversaries.
Those who were here in 2007 will remember the discord over the airport’s location between the county, which owns the airport, and the Community Appearance Board in Myrtle Beach, where the airport is located.
We’re eager to learn the outcome of the current discussion over the now passe’ terminal building.
We do suggest, however, that some thought is given to preserving at least one of the ticket counters for eventual display. One of these days, probably in the not-too-distant future, children will look at it the same way we now look at bi-planes.