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New library and children's museum coming to downtown Myrtle Beach

The City of Myrtle Beach has announced that it will build a new Chapin Memorial Library and Children’s Museum along Ninth Avenue North and Nance Plaza in downtown Myrtle Beach.

Mayor John Rhodes made the announcement during a 12:30 news conference.

"This public investment in the Superblock is expected to spur new private investment for the central business district, in the same way as the $7 million oceanfront boardwalk has generated $20 million worth of private investment," the city said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Starting on Tuesday the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation is purchasing Superblock properties where the new library and children’s museum will be built.

The property sales are occurring at fair market value, between willing sellers and a willing buyer, the statement said.

Last year, the city established a $10 million line of credit to be used for public investment in the Downtown Redevelopment area, and the DRC will draw from that for the purchases.

EdVenture and the South Carolina Children’s Museum announced last week that they had merged, and the plans unveiled Tuesday also included a new Children’s Museum.

“First, we provide a new destination and attraction for residents and visitors, who will come take part in the library’s programs and enjoy the activities of the Children’s Museum,” Mayor Rhodes said in the statement. “And second, we spur private reinvestment by bringing more traffic, more life and more people to this area.”

Funding for the new library and Children’s Museum has not been set, but will be a combination of grants, rentals, intergovernmental funding and debt financing. City Council will iron out those details during budget discussions this spring.

The design illustrations so far are just concepts and final designs will be developed in coming months.

There is no timeline yet for construction, Rhodes said.

Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said he was excited about the idea.

"This is great news for the future of downtown and it's ongoing effort to revitalize an area that so important to the overall image of our city and region," he said in an emailed statement. "To have a city center that is both safe and inviting will go far in reducing crime as well in attracting more visitors. This is certainly great news for the Children's Museum, especially given the recent news of their merger with EdVenture in Columbia, which happens to be the largest children's museum in the Southeast United States. We look forward to seeing this long overdue development come to fruition.”

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