061517 Pawleys Island: Pavilion Co. rejects request for Town Hall site
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Repairs are under way at the old Town Hall as planning continues for a new facility.

Pawleys Island: Pavilion Co. rejects request for Town Hall site

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A new Pawleys Island Town Hall won’t arch over the street as the architect envisioned. Nor will it sit within the town Nature Park as some property owners and officials expected.

“That is no longer an option,” Mayor Bill Otis said. “There were a lot of reasons.”

The park is owned by the nonprofit Pawleys Pavilion Co. The town planned to ask the state Department of Transportation to close the road that cuts across the park and build a new Town Hall in the right of way. But if the state gives up the roadway, the pavilion company would be able to claim it as the adjoining property owner.

After months of discussion, the nonprofit’s board turned down the town’s request for a long-term lease. The pavilion company was formed in 1960 by a group of island property owners to build the last of the island’s celebrated dance halls. It was destroyed by fire in 1970.

Otis, who was president of the nonprofit before he was elected to Town Council in 1995, said the current board sees its mission as providing open space. The company leases the park to the town for $1 a year. The board also believes building on the property would alter the view of the island.

The town bought a 6,000-square-foot lot on the corner of the North Causeway and Myrtle Avenue in 2010 that was incorporated into the park. A building on the lot that was once a store and a private home was torn down. “The corner lot is the one that makes the most sense,” Otis said. “It is probably the prettiest part of the park.”

The lot is across the street from the Town Hall that was created from a derelict beach rental office in 1988. The 450-square-foot building was flooded by Hurricane Matthew last year. The town is spending $10,000 to repair the building, but doesn’t plan to use it for office space. The administrator, clerk and police department will continue to operate from a portable office placed in the park after the storm.

David Graham, principal in the Graham Group, was picked by the town to design the new building. He sketched out a raised building that stretched over Pavilion Lane as part of his pitch. Town Council delayed a vote on the architect’s $32,000 contract while it tried to settle on the new Town Hall site. This week it agreed to pay the Graham Group at an hourly rate to develop a new proposal.

A preliminary estimate came up with a 1,466 square feet for a new facility. That space and the location will be the topic of a public meeting July 6 at 4 p.m. in the Pawleys Island Chapel.

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