Conway looks to redevelop riverfront and downtown areas

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Conway City council members met on Wednesday to kick off discussion of the city’s  master plan to redevelop the downtown and riverfront.

They focused on how they can better connect the unique restaurants and shops downtown with the Riverwalk.

“The city of Conway is in a unique position to grow and develop our downtown and our riverfront,” said Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy.

Mayor Blain-Bellamy said the plan to redevelop the area is moving forward because the Burroughs Company recently opened up riverfront property for economic development.

“As a result of that we immediately got in contact with people we thought were best suited to help guide us in terms of making an actual plan,” said Blain-Bellamy.

Conway leaders met with outside planners at Arnett Muldrow & Associates and Mahan Rykiel Associates Inc. to aid them in the process.

“We have hired some national experts to come up with a design that makes some sense,” said Blain-Bellamy.

City council went over some initial ideas that would beautify the walk from one area to another and to tie it all together at a central point.

City leaders want to make the area more enticing to visitors and Conway residents alike.

“We’ve got all the natural ingredients all we need is that guidance to really shine the gem that is ours,” said Blain-Bellamy

The idea is to pull together the natural beauty of the area with downtown development, and it’s an idea local businesses say they can get behind.

“A lot of folks come to our area looking for the river and how to access it and I think connecting the river to the downtown is a wonderful idea,” said Matthew Varnadore.

Varnadore is the owner of Waccamaw Outfitters in downtown Conway.  His business caters to river goers and he says plans to tie the whole area together would benefit the community.

“Anytime you can utilize what we have, the natural resources, in our case the Waccamaw river, I think is a great idea,” said Varnadore.

Wednesday’s meeting was the first step of realizing the direction they will go.

“It is a very long time coming for those of us who have been here waiting for this kind of expansion for a very long time, but I believe that soon enough we’re going to start see the fruits of our labor”

The only budget the city has set aside is for the planning stages. City council plans on meeting with the developers again in February and March to finalize the plans before budgeting for actual projects.

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