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Some Horry County School Board members upset with new Market Common plan

(WPDE)

Proposed changes to The Market Common's master plan would upend Horry County School District's plans for the area, several school board members told ABC15 Wednesday.

Myrtle Beach's plans for the former Air Force Base are changed and re-adopted every now and then, as the needs for the area change, city spokesman Mark Kruea said.

Tuesday, Myrtle Beach City Council members voted in favor of new changes to the plan, including:

  • Renewal, reconstruction, repair & remodeling of Redevelopment Projects, including streets, storm water, & park facilities, CCTV cameras.
  • Public infrastructure to serve HomeFed’s proposed development of two remaining parcels in Market Common.
  • Extension of taxiway from Shine Ave. to new airport hangar site.
  • Extension of Howard Ave. to Emory Rd.
  • Grand Park, improvements to Phases I-IV.
  • Playground expansion/safety measures for Grand Park alternative recreation facilities.
  • Police & Fire Station expansion & renovation to sites in the district.
  • Expansion of one parking garage

Kruea said much of the focus this year is maintaining Market Common in the future, as new development draws to an end.

"Not only taking care of the people who are there, but also taking care of the things that we have built there," he explained, saying funding to re-pave Farrow Parkway twice, an expensive project, had also been set aside.

Along with the additions, several proposed projects from years past would be deleted if the council votes for the changes in August, including a boat landing and a swimming center.

But the plans also remove a proposed school from the list, which upset several Horry County School Board members.

City officials say The Market Common no longer needs a school, and one was only proposed in case thousands of children had moved there.

They estimate the current number of students at 160.

School Board District 1 Representative Holly Heniford told ABC15 that board members were discussing building a different type of school in the district to serve more students.

"What we've discussed as a board is maybe putting a STEM program, vocational program, some type of specialized school," Heniford said, and shared that a committee was exploring the district's options.

Horry County currently has a STEM school, and STEM programs, which Heniford said were at capacity. It does not have a vocational school.

Heniford said The Market Common would be the perfect place for both, because of its proximity to Horry Georgetown Technical College and because of its residential environment.

She said she was disappointed that city leaders were trying to move forward with the changes, with little warning.

"I think that it would be nice if the city would sit down and talk with us about what our plans were, and we could coordinate something together," she said. "Because we need to think about the next generation."

Kruea said under the proposed changes, the school district would benefit.

Instead of a $20 million school that earlier plans had proposed, the district would get around $2.3 million per year through 2039, city documents show.

The money would come from surplus funds from the city's TIF agreement, which Kruea said was put in place back when the district was first being developed in order to spark growth.

Kruea said the money could be used to build a school anywhere in the county.

School district leaders opposed the annual payouts in 2017, when the city proposed to give the district $1.2 million per year until 2039 instead of building a school.

RELATED: 'Taking away of a promise': Horry County school officials upset with City of Myrtle Beach

The increase would add up to the proposed cost of the school.

A district spokeswoman said they were not taking an official position on the new proposal as of Wednesday afternoon.

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