The City of Myrtle Beach is suspending its search for an architect to work on the formerly proposed library project that would be placed on the Superblock, city officials said.
An email from Ron Andrews, special project manager for the city, states: “At this time, the City is suspending the RFP/RFQ process for selecting an Architect for a Library Project. I anticipate additional direction from the City Manager after the first of the calendar year. Thanks for your participation and for your patience.”
Andrews said that the suspension does not mean that search is terminated. Rather, if the new city council decides to move forward with the library project, regardless of location, they can pick back up with the process after the first of the year.
This means that the library project is still an option, however, it does not need to be placed in the Superblock area.
“I sort of hate to waste it if there is a desire to build a library anywhere,” Andrews said. He said that if council waits a year to make a decision, the process will be terminated, and the three to five month process of selecting an architect would start over.
Mark Kruea, spokesman for the city said, “Given the fact that we have three new faces on city council and that the change on council is a month away, there has been reason to have a broader conversation with the new council. It’s a subject that can easily wait a month to gauge the temperature of the new group.”
Kruea said that proposals from architects had been submitted and were ready for review by city staff.
“There’s no real hurry so we’ll just wait till we’ve talked with council,” John Pedersen, city manager, said.
The suspension comes after Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes was ousted by Brenda Bethune. Rhodes initially proposed plans for the Superblock properties that involved a new children’s museum and library. During his campaign for mayor he stated that the development was just an option, but that the properties would be demolished.
Bethune plans to propose closing Main Street to vehicles, creating a green space, and areas for both large and small businesses. She also proposes putting apartments above the businesses in the area.
“I commend John Pedersen and Mr. Andrews for making that call right now,” Bethune said. “I’m very very happy that they decided to do this now. That really should be something we’re apart of.”
Former Myrtle Beach mayoral candidate Ed Carey shared the email on Facebook.
“I think they got the message from the voters,” Carey said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all.”