Published: May 19 2016
By: Clayton Stairs
The proposed Inlet to Intracoastal Multipurpose Path, nicknamed the I2I, is one step closer to becoming a reality in Murrells Inlet. During a special meeting on May 16, the Murrells Inlet 2020 board of directors voted unanimously to pay $7,500 to the Earthworks Group, a planning and design consulting firm. That amount is for compiling a base map and determining additional surveying and expenses required for the path. Any additional expenses must be approved in advance by the MI2020 board, according to the contract.
“Earthworks’ original proposal for the base mapping was $7,500,” Board member Jeff Ciuba, who has been spearheading the project with board member Linda Lane, said. “We need the Earthworks to compile the information they have already gathered so we can apply for grants and work on getting easements from property owners along the route.”
He said that the board discussed checking to see if it could pay a smaller amount of money for the first phase of the project at its regular meeting on May 4. However, Strickland urged the group to pay the full amount to get the ball rolling.
“He said paying for the mapping for the whole project would be most cost effective,” Ciuba said.
In a letter to MI2020, Strickland stated that Earthworks is excited about the potential this project has for the organization as well as the community.
“We have been happy to contribute our time to this point pro bono, which includes a significant amount invested in the preparation of documents, maps, figures and meeting time,” Strickland wrote. “There is a lot of information to sift through and still more that could potentially be added. To get the information that we have currently in a concise, more usable format is going to take a decent amount of additional time.”
The I2I project grew out of comments made in an online community survey last summer and the group’s strategic plan developed over the past year. The proposed path would go from U.S. Highway 17 Business to Macklen Avenue, cross U.S. Highway 17 Bypass near Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital and go to Old Kings Highway. From there, it would go north to the ball parks and south to Wachesaw Road, where the path would continue to Wacca Wache Marina and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Tidelands Health is on board to help with funding the path around Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital. Ciuba and Lane said since the hospital is doing renovations soon, this is the best time to make plans for the multipurpose path in that area. They said the biggest issue for the multipurpose path is going to be gaining the property easements along the route.
“We have to work with utilities, get property easements and find the money to make it happen,” Ciuba said.