Murrells Inlet residents get updates on plans, projects

The leader of Murrells Inlet 2020 took Tuesday night to update residents of the small community on upcoming and ongoing projects in that area.Sue Sledz, executive director, spoke to a group of more than 100 during the organization’s bi-annual Chowder Talk meeting.

Murrells Inlet 2020 works to promote infrastructure improvements and beautification to Murrells Inlet, which includes environmental education, redevelopment of core commercial district and promote wetland conservation and preservation methods, according to the group’s website.

The updates from Sledz on Tuesday concerned the jetty view walk, road improvements and plans for a new Murrells Inlet Community Center.

By the end of 2013 Murrells Inlet will have a new community center built behind the current building, according to Beth Goodale, Georgetown County’s director of recreation and community services. The old building, located at 4450 Murrells Inlet Rd., will be demolished to make way for a parking lot once the new center is in full swing.

The community center, which will include several offices, multi-purpose rooms, a small stage, a dressing room and a small kitchen, will help allow for future community growth and large functions.

Though the building will assume about the same square footage as the current center, planners hope the updates will foster a sense of community and serve Murrells Inlet in a larger capacity. New seating arrangements will provide for 250 theaters seats, 300 dinner seats and a 400 person capacity during a reception.

“The center has been kinda the heart of the community for years and years and years, and will be able to remain so but just be improved for future generations,” Goodale said.

Sledz explained the progress of Jetty View Walk.

Though working on several projects, she said MI2020 is focusing on the Jetty View Walk, which will provide a public boardwalk from the south-end and would connect behind three restaurants – Hot Fish Club, Captain Poo’s and Nance’s Creekfront Restaurant. The plan will allow for about a mile and a half stretch, and it’s being managed by Georgetown County.

Funding for the project is confirmed, with a total estimated cost at $235,000, according to a handout from MI2020. The project is on schedule to be constructed during the current off-season.

Sledz also addressed a Business 17 Safety project which will widen current bike lanes to 10 feet and add a 2-foot paved buffer lane between the road and bike area.

The project is still in an idea stage, but it has been reviewed by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, reviewed by State Senator Raymond Cleary and reviewed by the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments. Murrells Inlet 2020 hopes to incorporate the changes into future Business 17 resurfacing projects.

Road improvement projects were apparently on Sledz’s mind, since she next mentioned a Highway 707 beautification project. She said people driving into Georgetown County see welcome signs that are surrounded by overgrown grass and tall weeds. Sledz suggests more frequent upkeep of the road, but the estimated cost totals $25,000 per year.

“The stragety from our perspective is just to mow more frequently,” Sledz said.

The reason for inaction so far is the cost: $25,000 per year to mow, but no funding is currently provided, Sledz said. The group aims to look into the issue later.

“All the other communities around us, north of us and south of us, are taking care of their bypass medium, so we need to also,” Sledz said.