MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The City of Myrtle Beach is now a finalist for a grant it would use to expand the historic Train Depot.
The Train Depot has become a popular venue for various events in Myrtle Beach, including weddings. The city is hoping to expand the depot by adding more train cars that could house a caterer’s kitchen, which the depot currently lacks, small meeting spaces, and even possibly an outdoor stage. Myrtle Beach hopes to fund the project through a grant from the Knight Cities Challenge, which awards funds for civic innovation. The foundation hasn’t put a cap on how much the city can request, so the exact amount the city could receive is unknown.
City Planner Kelly Mezzapelle says the city doesn’t have an exact estimate as to how much the expansion will cost, but expects the number will be in the tens of thousands. The city is looking at train cars that sellers are willing to donate, but transporting the cars would also be costly. Mezzapelle says there’s a demand for the expansion. The depot hosted at least 2 events every day last month alone. “People want to get married here. They want to bring their families here. And we want to expand on that. And create a space that the community can use for a multitude of different purposes,” she says.
Mezzapelle also says the expansion could also spur business growth in Myrtle Beach. “We could bring in cars that we could use as a business incubator. For people who want to start a business in downtown Myrtle Beach but aren’t far enough along to be able to rent space in a storefront. We could start them out here in train cars.”