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Myrtle Beach's wooden boardwalk to be replaced with recycled synthetic plastic

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk (copy)

The Myrtle Beach boardwalk is set for a facelift in 2021. File/Grace Beahm Alford

MYRTLE BEACH — The 11-year-old Myrtle Beach boardwalk has seen better days than the warped and discolored planks that adorn it these days, and the city of Myrtle Beach is taking steps to replace the boardwalk with a more durable option.

Though city officials were uncertain at a recent council meeting how long the new boardwalk is supposed to last, council learned of plans to replace the existing 8-foot-by-8-foot wooden planks of the boardwalk with 16-foot-by-16-foot synthetic recycled plastic sections.

The existing boardwalk, paid for by both public and private funds, took nine months and nearly $6.5 million to build.

A sales tax for tourism promotion made the boardwalk possible, which paid off bonds the city issued to finance the project. It also accepted contributions from private companies, such as Burroughs & Chapin, owners of the closed Pavilion.

Funding the new boardwalk is allocated in the Capital Improvement Plan this year. The amount budgeted was not immediately available.

The boardwalk was built to help lure tourists to shoreline businesses after the area took a major blow with the 2006 closing of the iconic Myrtle Beach Pavilion.

Then-Mayor John Rhodes played a big role in securing support for the boardwalk that stretches 1.2 miles from 14th Avenue North to 2nd Avenue Pier.

Businesses such as 8th Avenue Tiki, Moe Moon's, Hurricane's Daquiri Bar and Oceanfront Bar & Grill are direct beneficiaries of a refurbished boardwalk where vacationers can eat, drink or visit attractions like the SkyWheel.

The new boardwalk, which will include the replacement of some structural support beams under the boardwalk, will be a light color with some nautical medallions to add character and color.

Plans are in place to replace the deck and handrails of the boardwalk.

The replacement of main pedestrian access points at major road intersections from Plyler Park to Second Avenue Pier will create more of a pathway for visitors, and plans are in the works to create some photo opportunities at some of the access points, including surfboards and "Welcome to Myrtle Beach" signage for visitors to take pictures.

"I love the interaction piece to it with the photo ops and the figures you're talking about," Mayor Brenda Bethune said.

The city has had a test spot for the new boardwalk for about a year and a half near the Pavilion where the flagpoles are located.

There, city officials have been able to monitor potential discoloration — there wasn't any — and temperature of the synthetic material. The temperature is said to be slightly warmer than the current wooden boardwalk. The city already has signs warning pedestrians to wear shoes on the boardwalk.

Mark Kruea, spokesman for the city, said the work would likely get done this offseason.

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