CCU shows possible interest in Superblock area, plans still on hold


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Questions continue to surround the Superblock area in downtown Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach city leaders said they do not have definitive answers yet, and with a new city council and new possibilities for development, nothing has been officially decided.

The most recent group to show interest in the project is Coastal Carolina University.

CCU officials said they are exploring several options and the Superblock area is one of them, specifically for the arts. Theatre professor Steve Earnest said he heard in December about the possibility of renovating the old movie theatre near Eighth Avenue North for future productions.

Earnest understands everything is preliminary, but he believes shows at the beach could work.

“I think the arts are a great investment for a city, especially for a resort city, and certainly there would be a measure of tourists who would appreciate being able to go see a variety of different shows,” Earnest said.

Right now there are two theatres on CCU’s campus. Earnest said there is a need for a third because the department is growing.

“It also could give us a chance to teach students how to manage a theater, you know with tickets and a box office perhaps down there to do theatre management, to do some type of outreach for the community,” he said. “So yeah it sounds like a good idea, but I understand it is a smaller space so I don’t know how that will fit in with the mission, but perhaps it’s good.”

CCU’s theatre department holds six shows a year and all sell out at the two theatres on campus, according to Earnest.

“It would be nice to get the students more involved and get the CCU name out there in regards to some type of programming,” he said.

Earnest’s passion for the arts led him to serve on the board of the Myrtle Beach Performing Arts Center and Amphitheater project that is expected to sit behind the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

The city has not released any recent information on how that project is moving forward.

“It’s been a very difficult situation, but those on the board are still very positive about the possibility and we think it’s a very good idea for the city, and I’ll still feel that way, but we’ve realized how difficult it is to raise money in the current culture and how difficult it would be to plan to sustain the center and manage it. There’s a lot of factors,” Earnest said.

Funding for the multi-million-dollar project is a concern for Earnest, as well as the development of a future investment for CCU’s theatre department.

“Again, a lot of it is about money,” he said. “The way the arts are funded in the United States requires people to put their hands out.”

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