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Boardwalks provide link to waterfront attractions

As Myrtle Beach leaders make plans to build a boardwalk at a cost of up to $10 million, other towns in the area already know that a mile or so of planks along their rivers, marshes or other waterways can help make areas more attractive to visitors and locals year round.

Conway, Georgetown and Murrells Inlet capitalized on their sweeping river and marsh views by building boardwalks to shape their waterfront offerings.

Georgetown officials began building their harborwalk in the late 1980s. Now after two phases, the city's harborwalk winds through its historic district attracting festivals, residents and tourists.

Conway leaders are planning the third phase of the city's riverwalk along the Waccamaw River.

And the marshwalk in Murrells Inlet is being expanded with a pier.

As you plan your off-season stroll along one of the area's boardwalks, here are some facts to know about them, how they came to be, how they're maintained and what you're likely to see as you walk the boards. Conway's Riverwalk

Walking the boards: The riverwalk is ¾ of a mile.

The cost to create: The first phase constructed in 1992 cost $1 million of state grant funds. The second phase was completed in 2001 at a cost of $2 million in hospitality tax funding and the third phase set for early 2007 is expected to cost $1.5 million using funds coming from a revenue bond of hospitality fees.

Keeping up appearances: The city spends about $15,000 annually in upkeep for the riverwalk and for employees dedicating about 40 hours a week for maintenance.

Setting the scene: The riverwalk meanders by the city's riverfront park, arboretum, various boat docks, a boat ramp, city tennis courts and the Cypress Inn bed and breakfast.

Georgetown's Harborwalk

Walking the boards: The Harborwalk is 12 feet wide with the first phase being 1,100 feet long and the second phase 1,500 feet long.

The cost to create: The first phase, which cost $850,000, was funded by community development funds from the governor's office and a lease-purchase agreement with a local lending institution. Cost for the second phase was unavailable.

Keeping up appearances: The cost to maintain the structure was not available from city officials.

Setting the scene: The harborwalk was built to help revitalize downtown Georgetown. Officials estimated that 80 new jobs were created.

Murrells Inlet Marshwalk

Walking the boards: The marshwalk is 10 feet wide and about 2,600 feet long. The first phase was first constructed in 1998 and continued in four phases before being completed in 2005. A fifth phase of a fishing pier and 600 feet extension of the marshwalk is planned.

The cost to create: The marshwalk cost more than $1 million and was paid for by Georgetown County's Sunday liquor sales permits, private donations, Murrells Inlet 2007 and grants from Ocean & Coastal Resource Management.

Keeping up appearances: It is maintained by Georgetown County, but costs were not available.

Setting the scene: The boardwalk connects seven restaurants. Along the walk, signs offer educational information about a salt marsh.