In late April of 2008, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked its readers to offer some thoughts on the future of Jekyll Island State Park, particularly with regard to the question of how much and what kind of development the park might need. Below are the 315 comments that the AJC received in response to its request.

By ajcopinion | Monday, April 28, 2008, 09:29 AM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Developers in the next 30 days are expected to unveil the latest plans for state-owned Jekyll Island, amid growing concerns that the plans for the condo-hotel-retail project will encroach on a maritime swamp forest.
“Maritime forests are extremely rare and getting more so all the time,” said David Kyler, executive director of the nonprofit Center for a Sustainable Coast. “We don’t think any of it is expendable, especially at a state park accessible by causeway.”
How should we develop Jekyll or should we allow any additional development at all? Should we simply redevelop existing hotels while not encroaching on any undeveloped portions of the island? Or does the island need the economic boost that more shops, hotels and condos would provide?

Permalink | Comments (315) |
By Art Hurt
April 28, 2008 11:01 AM | Link to this
So, let’s go to the Jekyll Island maritime forests and build some hotels. Let’s cut down the live oaks, drain, fill, compact, pave, and build. Good idea, right? Not so fast.
The maritime forests of a barrier island are vital as storm and tide protection for the island. By extention, the barrier islands are vital as protection of Georgia’s coastline. Removing the maritme forests from a barrier island is like a soldier removing his body armor in battle.
Additionally, within 50 years, (less than the amortization schedule of the monies proposed to be spent), the level of the Atlantic is predicted to rise a foot and a half, presenting a huge increase in the destructive potential of storms and tides. Any state treasury or finincial lender should be aware of the risk to their investment. Natural conditions could render the properties incapable of producing revenues necessary to retire the loans. Skeptical? I refer you to New Orleans.
Jekyll Island issues need to be studied in ways that transcend commercial marketing. Maybe it would be appropriate to incorporate some science. Ya think? Art Hurt
By Jane Fraser
April 28, 2008 11:55 AM | Link to this
Maritime forests are rare and the one on Jekyll is superb. Preserving Jekyll for future generations is crucial - and as we have learned recently is not easy. The Jekyll Island Authority needs input that transcends commercial marketing and politics. Also keep in mind that there are plenty of unsold condos along the coast just north of Jekyll! Thank goodness for Jeff Chapman who truly represents the people in his district.
By Angela McKinley
April 28, 2008 12:05 PM | Link to this
Keeping the maritime forests or paving paradise and putting up a parking lot is a no-brainer.
By janie Hopwood
April 28, 2008 12:11 PM | Link to this
Why can’t someone stop this train and take time to study what is best for Jekyll. I have seen enough of the beautiful live oaks cut down to be replaced by palm trees that are not natural to this island but fit with someone’s idea of a tropical getaway. Please, slow down and look at Jekyll. Find the uniqueness of this place. Don’t touch any place that has not already been “developed”. Keep this state park as carefully as you would keep your family because it belongs to them, the generations of Georgians that will follow us and praise us or curse us for how we watched over their heritage.
By sassysue
April 28, 2008 12:25 PM | Link to this
Yes, the builder does have its eye on another natural asset of the park, but not for the reasons they would like you to believe. Building condos and time shares seems to be the most important issue to them than just redeveloping the existing hotels and retail area. Jekyll Island does not need additional development such as a luxury hotel or a new town square. Keep Jekyll the way it is now because that is why the people visit! They don’t want a resort area like everyone would like to think. We want it to remain the beautiful island it is.
By J D Black
April 28, 2008 12:31 PM | Link to this
As a life-long resident of Georgia and annual vacationer to Jekyll, I am adamantly opposed to the development proposals I’ve seen for this coastal jewel. First, developing right on the beach and now the inland woods and wetlands? I am in favor of renovation and re-development in the existing footprint, but everything I’ve seen from LLC is very agressive and intrusive. Time shares, shopping, and upscale condos go against the very grain of what Jekyll is about. Nature, serenity, and affordability are what drove my family’s love affair with the island that now spans 3 generations. I know it may be too much to ask of a developer, but could we not meet a happy medium and renovate/rebuild rather than develop another Hilton Head? Could a minor project not draw interest from a developer? Does it have to be a 10-figure project? I am not an environmentalist, as many in the movement to protect Jekyll have been labeled. I am a conservative Independant who is concerned that the decision makers that hold the future of Jekyll in their hands have lost sight of what the island is all about, or who never cared about the island at all. To Governor Purdue, JIA, and LLC, stand up and do the right thing, not the most profitable thing. It will do your conscience a world of good. With regards from Ringgold, GA.
By Karen Brown
April 28, 2008 12:47 PM | Link to this
The JIA and proposed developers appear to be behind the curve as far as tourism. The people who come to Jekyll come because the island is NOT developed. We have plenty of choices to go elsewhere to find condos and shopping that are easier to get to. The birding, kayaking at St. Mary’s, and seeing the ocean are what attracts me. I believe that out-of-staters such as myself would gladly pay a much higher fee to enter Jekyll Island State Park if money is an issue. If development is needed, Brunswick could use it.
This year, in search of a similar paradise, we went to Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina. A lot of Georgia’s tourism dollars will go to nearby states.
By Martin McConaughy
April 28, 2008 12:50 PM | Link to this
The educational potential and unique recreational aspects of what Jekyll Island is should always take precedence over any economic engine resort type development that is the current direction we are having to respond to. Sustainability is a key here. I want my grandchildren to experience Jekyll as an island that was allowed to take care of itself. Let’s wait a few years to see how the new and refurbished hotels impact the island before pour any other new concrete.
By Theresa Matt
April 28, 2008 1:11 PM | Link to this
It was probably predictable that the developers, thwarted at the beachfront, would turn their sights to the maritime forest. Hold on! The forest is an essential part of Jekyll Island. The attraction of Jekyll Island is the natural environment, and that includes the forest as well as the beach.
Nowhere in all of this discussion is an examination of the basic issue: Is the state park supposed to be a moneymaker, or is it for the average Georgian?
The people who should be listened to are those who have visited Jekyll for decades (three-plus, in the case of my family —- Georgians all). We want the forest left as is. We want to be able to see the beach and walk on it. We want to explain nature and the environment to our children and grandchildren, using real examples. We don’t want to have to say, “There used to be some unusual trees here. Let me tell you what it was like.” Why are some people trying to make Jekyll just like every overbuilt, tacky “upscale” place on the ocean?
Yes, the run-down hotels should be refurbished. Yes, shops and facilities can be upgraded. But that doesn’t mean extending the footprint. Jekyll Island is one of the last places you can go without being assaulted by commercialism. Let’s keep it that way.
By Frank Mirasola
April 28, 2008 1:15 PM | Link to this
It goes without saying that the Maritime Forest along with the contiguous wetland and marsh must be preserved. Simply because, once it is gone it will never return and it is vital to the environmental protection and well being of Jekyll Island and the salt marsh which it defends from oceanic ravages. The issue is how can this be accomplished? With one exception on the Jekyll Authority Board (Ed Boshears) no one has shown any inclination to make development and revitalization subordinate to protection of the environment and wildlife. Despite numerous requests from citizens and some legislators, there have been no environmental effects studies preformed, the Island does not have an approved Conservation Plan, there has been no attempt to measure how much development is necessary and how much the Island can support. The Governor and his administration have entered into an unholy alliance with developers to take away what rightfully belongs to all of us and put it in the hands of the anointed few to enrich their purses.
We need a public outcry of Biblical proportions to reach to the four corners of the state and especially to Atlanta to stop the madness. We need to show up at every political gathering between now an the July Primary and tell the candidates what their mandate must be, “stop the madness and preserve Jekyll Island”. That will get their attention and just may stop them!
By TwinBo
April 28, 2008 1:22 PM | Link to this
This project started on the wrong foot with a development firm that came in with a supposedly impeccable reputation. They then presented an atrociously intrusive and unrealistic plan that shocked every interested person. Worse, the avenue for any constructive criticism or communication was non existent with any of the principals. Is it any wonder that there is great suspicion of future changes and accommodation?
By Carol Sue Ravenel
April 28, 2008 1:32 PM | Link to this
As the saying goes…”if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it..” Well,Jekyll isn’t broken, it just needs a gentle dusting so that it can continue to provide peace and tranqulity to both wildlife and visitors. A state park is not intended to be a profitable place, it is meant to be for the pleasure and enjoyment of the people who pay taxes for its upkeep. We don’t have much left of our American shorelines that has not been invaded by profiteers….leave MY island alone!! My grandchildren and I thank you.
By Susan DeHoff
April 28, 2008 1:44 PM | Link to this
Thanks to Mr. Chapman for making the general public aware of Linger Longer’s desire to move its Jekyll Island State Park development project into the maritime forest. It now seems plain that Linger Longer’s interest is not in improving Jekyll Island (“redeveloping” seems to be the politically correct term) but rather finding a way to use the beauty of Jekyll Island to turn a profit. They are right that Jekyll Island is prime real estate. What they do not seem to comprehend is that it is prime real estate because it has not been developed by land developers such as Linger Longer. The only way to insure that Jekyll Island State Park remains the treasure that it is would be to do as the National Park Service has done with neighboring Cumberland Island, protect it from real estate development companies.
By Ashley Chasteen
April 28, 2008 2:27 PM | Link to this
Jekyll does not need to be another concrete jungle like so many other beaches are becoming. Yes, most of its hotels need to be refurbished - but let’s keep them in the same footprints where they were originally built. Also, let’s keep them 4 stories and under like regulations originally stipulated. Jekyll’s natural beauty does not need to be tainted with high-rise gaudy structures. Development to the extent that LLC and the JIA are proposing would ruin why so many people love the island. Refurbished hotels and conference center would boost the island’s economy without ruining its pristine beauty.
By Victoria Oldham
April 28, 2008 2:55 PM | Link to this
We just moved to the Golden Isles of Georgia from Sedona, Arizona. We recently visited Jekyll Island for the first time and absolutely loved it. The place we just moved from, Sedona, refered to as Arizona’s “Red Rock country,” has more resorts and time shares than we care to count, but at least it’s the desert, and there are lots of towering red rocks to go around. However, to do the same thing to the delicate environment we observed on Jekyll Island would be unthinkable…and it would certainly change the environment forever. We run a destination marketing company in Sedona (Gateway To Sedona) and know that the bigger profit picture for the state of Georgia over time lies attracting tourists from all over the world who will only come to a place like Jekyll if it remains environmentally pristine, with its native flora and fauna intact. Otherwise, there are plenty of name-brand, palm-tree filled luxury resorts in gnat-free areas of the US that will surely out-compete anything that could be built on Jekyll.
By Bert Richmond
April 28, 2008 2:57 PM | Link to this
If it were not for Senator Chapman and Mr. Boshears, the citizens of Georgia would have had NO input into the overdevelopment of our most unique State Park. Three new hotels have already been approved for building, use of Jekyll Island has increased steadily over the last ten years despite what the current JIA Board would like us to believe.
We must have a JIA Board that represents all the citizens of Georgia and a majority of whom are trained and inexperienced in Biology, Park Management, and related areas appropriate to the protection of this most sensitive barrier island. We now have bankers, real estate developers, financiers, but no real vocal representatives for the environmental needs of Jekyll. What a tragedy that Ed Boshears term of office expires this July.
By Mae
April 28, 2008 3:24 PM | Link to this
If Governor Perude wants to do the right thing he would reappoint the board and include people with the backgrounds Bert refers to…it only makes sense. Governor Perdue has the option of reappointing Ed Boshears to another term. Mike Hodges’s term was up July 1, 2007 and he remains a sitting member of the board. Of course Mike is chair of the Conservation Committee who has done nothin to move the Conservation Plan to a vote by the board or retain strong, protective language in the plan. So maybe he remains on the board for a purposed. He supported the concept espoused by board Chair Ben Porter “defining the environmentalyy sensitive areas of the island can be done concurrent with development.” How absurd!
Eric Garvey stated in Dan Chapman’s article that “Whatever we do needs to be done in an environmentally responsible manner,” Garvey said, “Our goal is to be a model for how development takes place on the coast.” If that were the case the JIA would NEVER have approved an RFP without FIRST doing environmental and capacity studies and having the Conservation Plan in place. They would NOT have blocked legislation that would have protected a barrier island’s fragile ecology and insured that Jekyll maintains a character that reflects a state park and not a high end resort. No matter how “green” buildings are built they cannot replace what God has graced Jekyll Island with. Its natural wonders should be preserved for all generations!
By Hoyt LeCroy
April 28, 2008 3:31 PM | Link to this
The Jekyll Island Authority has failed to seriously consider the will of the people. No one doubts the need for revitalization, but no one would want to see the island ravaged by over-development. Blogs are an effective means of communication, but they are no substitute for contacting the Governor and legislators. They are the decision-makers and it is they to whom we must make our wishes known. It is an absolute travesty that a PR firm has been hired for $3500 per month to “sell” Linger Longer’s development “ideas” to the citizens of Georgia. Where are they getting the money? If you can’t figure that one out, I have a very nice bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell to you. Contact the Governor and visit the website:
By Pretty Patty
April 28, 2008 3:47 PM | Link to this
In 2004 the Jekyll Island Authority commissioned a study for the revitalization of Jekyll Island. Unlike todays model it was well researched and when presented enthusiastically received. It was titled the 20-20 /Vision Plan. It was to use 28 acres incoporating the present shopping center then around the corner and across the street, on the parkway entrance. The plan included stores, restaurants and condos. Neither beach, maritime forrest or wetlands were impacted. Old hotels were to be rebuilt or renovated and a new hotel added to the Convention Center. Unlike todays plan all the homework was well done before a plan was presented. So far we’ve had no capacity or conservation study completed. Three hotels and condo plans are proceeding on beach footprint areas at this time. Before Linger Longer spends a fortune on marketing and planning people, how about conducting the necessary studies! At present there is so much unsold real estate on other islands. It seems that the uniqueness of Jekyll should be its natural unspoiled settings. In todays harried world it is hard to find many places like it
By Marshall Murphey
April 28, 2008 4:21 PM | Link to this
This one is EASY. Increase the ground leases by another 90 years. Then let the developers only redevelop already developed hotel properties. That would keep Jekyll the same old Jekyll (nice and quiet)but with modern hotels. Jekyll is a state supported island used to serve the pleasure of ALL. I am 44 and must say the best times of my life have been spent on Jekyll. It nice to vacation where time stands still, Jekyll is not Saint Simons of Hilton Head, I thank God for that, lets do a lttle face lift but keep her just the way she is, Beautiful. Marshall Murphey
By Sandra Hamel
April 28, 2008 4:30 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island State Park history will remember 2 names: Senator Jeff Chapman R-Brunswick and Representative Debbie Buckner D-Junction City. Both have fought lonely battles for legislation to protect the last undeveloped area near or on Jekyll’s beach. Hopefully, the Republican controlled House and Senate will understand, before it’s too late, that their support for the JIA and LLC beach village is irresponsible (especially when revitalization is already taking place with the renovations or replacement of the 10 existing hotels, and, the JIA already has plans they can return to for the convention center and shopping center to be replaced in the same areas they are now located). Allowing more hotels and condos to be built on any part of this state park, from the beach to the Historic District, will change Jekyll Island forever. It will lose, for future generations, the simplicity and uniqueness that makes it so special. History might not remember all of their names, but, if development of this undeveloped area is allowed, it will be remembered that Jekyll Island’s simplicity and uniqueness were lost to future generations under Republican Governor Sonny Perdue and his Republican controlled House and Senate. Rather than doing all in their power to protect this entire area for future generations of Georgians, they sold their State Park out to developers. Sometimes “less” really is “more”.
By big jake
April 28, 2008 4:47 PM | Link to this
Here we go again ,LLC at their best!No direction,no visitation or capacity study,who’s in charge.Is the Jekyll Island Authority working for LLC or is LLC working for the Authority.Who indeed is setting the parameters on Jekyll revitilazation? Unlike the movie “Field of Dreams” where build it and they will come “was the belief ,not so on Jekyll revitilazation.I’m confident the Reynolds Group has deep pockets but this incompetence on all parties must be costing them big bucks.LLC now says in 30 days they will have a new plan, however the Authority says the Bleakley study on capacity and visitation will take 8 weeks..I rest my case and hope for the best!
By Mary Lynn Huie
April 28, 2008 5:18 PM | Link to this
I have been vacationing on Jekyll since the early 1950s. The trips were family excursions involving slow days and nights that gradually synchronized to the rhythms of the ocean, sky, and land. The plans to “upscale” (a nice way of saying getting rid of the troublesome middle class) and add to what is already on the island will only make this special place identical to the rest of the traffic-congested, over-developed islands along America’s coasts. Jekyll will no longer be a place to return to nature but just another developer’s Disneyesque interpretation of nature.
Yes, the hotels have been sadly neglected. But much of the reason for that neglect has been the knowledge that plans were afoot to replace them with resorts. I understand that this is an attractive “opportunity” for developers, but the state needs to step in to protect the island for the people of Georgia who are not being served by developers who only think in terms of the money they can make. Our political leaders should think of their legacy rather than their debts to developers who underwrote their campaigns.
By Anne Brunsgaard
April 28, 2008 5:32 PM | Link to this
I completely agree that the reason people go to Jekyll is because it is not horribly overdeveloped and touristy! I lived in FL for years and always hated the ugly beachfront developments there; when my mother-in-law first took me to Jekyll I expected just another FL beach but it was so serene and natural. I felt so refreshed and relaxed that we go back almost every year. If Jekyll changed to include large developments and less nature, we would mourn the loss, and take our vacation dollars elsewhere.
By The Oddball
April 28, 2008 6:32 PM | Link to this
The Oddball recently visited Jekyll Island, and was surprised to see that the “crumbling parking lot” which the developers and their well-paid friends in the legislature wanted to rip out was actually in fine shape. It also happens to be the only place on the island where a family can park the car to spend a day on the beach. The Oddball can afford the hotels, but many cannot.
When developers want a chunk of anything on the Georgia coast, they’ll say anything — don’t believe a word they say unless you’ve verified it yourself.
By Martha and Richard Lang
April 28, 2008 7:01 PM | Link to this
We, friends of Jekyll have said from the very beginning when Linger Longer was chosen that we only want new hotels and retail facilities to be built on the original footprints of exiting old hotels and retail establishments. Of course by doing so, Linger Longer will not be able to make the enormous profits unless they expand on the size of their development and encroach on envirnomentally sensitive land that keeps in balance Jekyll’s fragile existance. Jekyll belongs to the people of Georgia and Linger Longer with Govenor Purdue’s endorsement fail to listen to us. This is nothing but a land grab for the wealthy Mercer Reynolds family who owns Linger Longer Devleopment Company and who in return are being rewarded for their huge donations to Purdue’s last re-election.
Martha and Richard Lang
By Decatur
April 28, 2008 7:34 PM | Link to this
Georgians are really speaking out on their love for the Jekyll that is not yet commercialized or housing new condos, timeshares and a town center that would invade a maritime forest. It is amazing to watch our legislators ignore public opinion on this aside from those like Senator Chapman and Representative Buckner. I know the names do not end there, but legislators have also shown that they are not going to necessarily vote with their constituency on this issue where big money is involved and it is the desire of Governor Perdue, the JIA (excluding Mr. Boshears) and Linger Longer to take giant steps in moving forward and not listening to the wishes of the people. I adore the simplicity of our state park and hate to see anxious developers and biased JIA members ruin this incredible island.
By Barbara Driggers
April 28, 2008 7:45 PM | Link to this
First off, I must apologize to my fellow Georgians, for wasting my vote on Gov.Purdue. I will never do it again. Also, it breaks my heart that some of the people that I knew on the JIA, sold their souls to the devil.
Now that being said, when the Ocean rises and engulfs the land, which it will do in years to come, with the obvious global warming. Then I hope that LLC,JIA and all their graft grabbing money hungry friends are taken out to see, right along with the “Town Square” and all the Condo’s and Town Houses. Cause when you mess with Mother Nature and God’s Plan, it has a way of back-firing on you. My Family is now going on 4 generations that have been coming to the precious “Golden Isle”. We have walked every foot of the beach and tramped through the Wet Lands, watched the Squirrels run and play. Plus Deer crossing the roads. Feeding the birds and admiring the turtles, plus all the other things of Nature. So fix up and clean up, fresh paint, yes, Expand, NO.NO,NO.
I wish that you men involved in the destruction of my Island were my Son’s or my Husband. You would realize the wrath of a woman scorned. If you were able to walk or talk. I wonder how yu can sleep at night. You know this “State Park” does not belong to you, it belongs to the people of Georgia and all of our country men that would care to visit. And we Welcome them with open arms. Cause once you have put your feet in the sands of Jekyll, you are hooked. It gets in your blood. Every time I walk the Beach, I can’t help but think of the prayer, “Foot Prints in the Sand”, cause trust me the man up stairs walks that land on a daily basis. Our Wetlands are so vital, the Marshes are so vital,the Trees and Sea Oats, the animals,the sand and water are all vital to our very way of living. I am 73 years old and a mere woman. I wish I had the power to gather the people of Georgia to converge upon the Island and have a sit in, just to STOP you in your tracks. I live on Social Security, and I have literally spent almost one full month of my income, to make long distance calls, make flyer’s, write letters.What ever I thought it would take, to help save the Island. I would stand on a “Soap Box” and preach non-stop, if I could to get my point across. I get so angry every time I think about it, I come real close to losing my religion. I want to tell you off so bad, in not so nice of a way. God made so many different types of people, and I think that all you big wigs might fall under the title of being “Idiots”. I think LLC means Linger Longer, well lets change your name to “Linger Less” get Lost. Go mess up some one else’s life and leave us alone. You make me sick. I am so ashamed of all of you. You know they say the rich get richer and the poor gets poorer and the bigger they get, the harder they fall. Pride goeth before the man. Search your hearts and minds, cause you are going down the wrong path. God Pity you that are involved in destroying the Island and hurting millions of people.
By susanme
April 28, 2008 7:57 PM | Link to this
The people who love Jekyll are genuinely concerned about the island’s future. This love has fueled them during recent months as they have fought to save the open shoreline. Now it is another battle that they face. Sen. Chapman and Rep. Buckner have listened to the people of Georgia and have banded with them to try to save their island. Because they are not in agreement with LLC, the JIA, and the state politicians who surely have chosen to back LLC’s development plans whatever they may be—Chapman and Buckner have been made-out to be the “bad guys”. Well if they are the bad guys throw-out the “good guys” please. Those in elected offices need to take notice. Sen. Chapman and Rep. Buckner are doing what they were elected to do—serve the people—instead of trying to rob them blind. Like Frank Mirasola said the people of Georgia have to stand up and say stop the madness we have had enough!
By Paul Patterson
April 28, 2008 8:26 PM | Link to this
My family visits Jekyll because is not overly developed and is unlike any other costal area we have been to. We come from out of state and if Jekyll is paved over and filled with condos then Georgia will lose this vacationer’s dollars. All the island needs is some updating of the current facilities not an extreme makeover as proposed by the JIA and Linger Longer. It is time that the politicians wake up and realize what a valuable resource they are about to let be destroyed. It is an absolute shame an environmentally sensitive and increasing rare costal area like this could be bulldozed away due to the greed of a few short sighted land developers.
By Paul Patterson
April 28, 2008 8:27 PM | Link to this
My family visits Jekyll because is not overly developed and is unlike any other costal area we have been to. We come from out of state and if Jekyll is paved over and filled with condos then Georgia will lose this vacationer’s dollars. All the island needs is some updating of the current facilities not an extreme makeover as proposed by the JIA and Linger Longer. It is time that the politicians wake up and realize what a valuable resource they are about to let be destroyed. It is an absolute shame an environmentally sensitive and increasing rare costal area like this could be bulldozed away due to the greed of a few short sighted land developers.
By Charlie Busfield
April 28, 2008 8:30 PM | Link to this
There is no doubt in my mind the current development plan will be soundly denounced in this forum, or any other. The plan is clearly that bad. Still, I am concerned certain people in positions of power may not care about what we Georgians want in this case, much less about what is best for Jekyll environmentally. It is ironic the governor has called for green space preservation in the state. Is Jekyll not the epitomy of Georgia green space? No development in the maritime forest, please. All Jekyll needs is for existing lodging accomodations to be improved, fix up the convention center and modernize the golf course. If more needs to be done at that point then we can cross that bridge when we come to it. But there is no need for development of an aggressive, radical nature, and I suspect the motives of anyone who advocates such a thing.
By Save Jekyll
April 28, 2008 9:09 PM | Link to this
For those who are interested in the preservation of Jekyll Island, you may enjoy
By Joan L.
April 28, 2008 9:09 PM | Link to this
From the Official Code of Georgia Annotated:
O.C.G.A. Section 12-3-235 (14):
The Jekyll Island Authority shall have power to do any other things necessary or proper to beautify, improve, and render self-supporting the island park, to make it facilities available to people of average income, and to advertise its beauties to the world.
O.C.G.A. Section 12-3-271:
All income and revenues arising out of the operation of Jekyll Island State Park, and all gifts, grants, appropriations, or bonds or loan proceeds made specifically for Jekyll Island State Park, shall be used by the authority for the sole purpose of beautifying, improving, developing, enlarging, maintaining, administering, managing, and promoting Jekyll Island State Park at the lowest rates reasonable and possible for the benefit of the people of the State of Georgia.
Interesting language (which also happens to be state law.) Doesn’t seem to support the current state leadership’s headlong & impetuous rush to turn Jekyll into a fancified upscale resort destination.
By Charlotte Clark
April 28, 2008 9:31 PM | Link to this
We have been going to Jekyll twice a year every year since 1973. Yes, today we have trouble finding a pleasant pet-friendly place on the beach to spend our week, but without a doubt, it is the best place for quiet relaxation, family bonding and nature watching. The tidal marshes have the primordial pea soup necessary for the food web so important for all creatures – not just humans. Watching pelican fly just above the surf in late June, the rafting ducks in late November, porpoise hunting in pairs – fall or summer, and the Right Whales blowing tall streams of water is all a part of the Jekyll experience. The whales come to the coastal area off the Georgia coast for their calving.
Have you ridden your bike down the bike trail on the north part of the island? There are so many different species of birds, many types of scat, various tidal invertebrates and a myriad of other animals living in the spartina.
Taylor Schoettle’s “Naturalist’s Guides to the Georgia Coast” are a wonderful way to discover additional adventures and existing creatures at our wonderful island. The books are a great family reference and an interesting way to get children’s curiosity piqued
To allow this pristine quiet family island to be bullied by acid-tongued politicians who enjoy attacking those who choose to try to make a difference in the world is beyond understanding – even so far as attacking their own within their political party with the most trite juvenile postcards depicting people with black eyes – and it is just because the person is standing up for what he thinks is right. And it is right. It’s time the silent nature lovers took a stand and helped the voices who are helping us all.
Recently, I found a reference “Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” I invite you to substitute “Jekyll Island” in the quote. Jekyll was loaned to us by our children. It’s up to us to maintain the ability for the tidal marshlands to stay in their role, to keep the wonderful beaches in the same environment that they hold now. Taking a stand now to help Jekyll is very much like a long-term smoker who has finally kicked the habit — one step at a time can only do us all good!!
The politicians who are more self absorbed in their joking acerbic attitude at the board meetings should take a lesson from Thoreau: “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” See Jekyll. It is beautiful. Make it stay beautiful.
By Guy Lemaire
April 28, 2008 10:06 PM | Link to this
As a long time visitor to Jekyll Island, I was so appalled today when I was surfing the net and came across this story.
I have not been to Jekyll Island for several years, but I forever miss its beauty and serenity. If this condo-hotel-retail project goes through, I vow never to set foot on the island again. Obviously, I will not be the only one with such an attitude.
I cannot believe that such a disgusting project would ever be considered by lawmakers of either political party. This pandering just goes to prove that the only thing bipartisan in 2008 is the lure of the almighty dollar.
Unfortuantely, I am far away at this time and can only donate money to help preserve the beautiful Jekyll Island. I wish I could donate my time, energy and karma as well. I urge all area residents who feel strongly about not turning this beautiful piece of nature into high-priced commercial real estate to get involved in any way they can to stop this destructive and obscene.
Your activism is needed now! Please remember the movie The Godfather: Part II when Al Pacino’s character of Michael Corleone went to a pre-Castro Havana to meet with other U.S. mob bosses to discuss their interests in Cuba. While being driven through Havana, Michael witnesses a rebel going up to an Army captain and several soldiers and blowing himself up and taking them with him. At the meeting of the mob bosses, Michael voices concern that if the rebels come to powerful, all their interests in Cuba will be lost. The other mob bosses assure Michael that there is nothing to worry about with the rebels. Michael then says, “The government soldiers are being paid to fight. Nobody is paying the rebels top fight, therefore they can win.” Similarly, no one will be paying the opponents of the development project on Jekyll Island to fight it, therefore they can win!!
By Hoyt LeCroy
April 28, 2008 11:05 PM | Link to this
Ooooops! My previous note said that a PR consultant had been hired to “market” the new development on Jekyll….Now hear this…….it’s $35,000…..that ‘s thirty-five thousand smackers…per month….for a total of some $140,000 over a period of four months……… They know that the citizens don’t want over-development, so they spend $$ (whose $$) to “sell” it to us??!!
By Igor
April 29, 2008 12:01 AM | Link to this
Gimme a break! This entire Jekyll Island development scheme is nothing more than Sonny Perdue and friends carving up more real estate to make millions. We all knew Sonny was a backroom deal scheister before the last election. And you still voted this moron into office!!! What did you expect? He’s a crook and a doesn’t give a damn about Georgia’s natural resources; only the financial resources he can stuff into his own pockets.
By Tom
April 29, 2008 12:09 AM | Link to this
People, you elected this crowd, then you re-elected them. You did this even after knowing what Perdue did on his real estate deals. So what did you expect? Wonder what he is getting personally out of this??
By susanme
April 29, 2008 12:44 AM | Link to this
When I wrote my earlier post I was still fired up after reading Barbara Driggers post. She tickled me with the part about if it were her husband or her sons. Sounds like we have a lot in common because I can relate.
When I posted my last comment I meant to comment on the blog questions. This is where Linger Longer really ticks me off. All they want to do is bad mouth the condition Jekyll is in and how bad everything needs to be revitalized but they come in wanting to do everything backwards. This throws up a red flag to me. I believe they want to sink their hooks into a lot of land before they are willing to invest in the work that needs to be done first. We need to redevelop what is already there and stay within the footprints of the existing developments. Then if Jekyll is booked up and the phones are ringing off the hooks and the hotels and restaurants can’t handle the demand then new development might be consider. If such a place to safely house the new development does not exist then everyone will have to wait their turn—day trip to visit the beach and go else where for food and lodging. I have had to do this myself but that is just part of the tourist trade. Sometimes wide open sometimes slow go. So first redevelop then wait a few years to see how it goes and then consider new development. I think this is what most people want. I certainly do.
By Greg Lowery
April 29, 2008 8:35 AM | Link to this
Many of the comments already posted echo my feelings on this subject. Revitalization needs to take place, no doubt—but in the existing developed footprint. The proposals thus far have simply been overwhelmingly large. I enjoy a steak dinner occasionally, but I don’t need or want twenty pounds of steak.
Has Linger Longer considered this strategy: Why not listen to public input, and then prepare a proposal? It seems counterproductive to invest all this time and money in plans that fly in the face of prevailing public opinion. Listen first, and then plan.
By Jim
April 29, 2008 8:37 AM | Link to this
Here’s one more. I like Jekyll as it is. Just restore the structures that are there. No more development. Have you ever rode a bicycle on Jekyll? Or walked the beach around to where the Live Oaks merge with the sea? It’s beautiful just the way it is. We have had conferences there and stayed in the hotels, shopped in the shops. What’s scary is to see how St. Simons has gone from a simple two-lane entrance to a huge development that destroys the small island feel it once had. Preserve what’s left of our Ga. coast.
By Brenda Constan
April 29, 2008 8:40 AM | Link to this
Each year in early spring, I toss a stack of books, some comfortable walking shoes, and my beach bike in the car and anticipate a week of quiet self-indulgence and renewal on Jekyll Island. It is a unique place. Its salt marshes; stately live oaks; maritime forests; wetlands; beaches; and array of wildlife, some of it rare and endangered, awaken in me a need for contemplation and remind me of the power and beauty of the natural world. More significantly, the island makes me reflect on our role as human beings in this world. Because Jekyll Island is a state park, we are, as citizens of Georgia, its stewards, responsible for protecting its quiet natural beauty and its wild life population.
Linger-Longer’s decision to move their proposed development off the beach may appear to be a magnanimous and environmentally sound gesture. However, the gesture merely veneers the real issues concerning development on the island. The new plan will still negatively impact the maritime forest and its flora and fauna, it will still impact the island’s infrastructure, it will still bring excessive traffic and noise to the island, it will still violate the original intent to keep the island affordable for ordinary Georgians. It will still be inappropriate in a state park.
By Amy Schwartz-Bradberry
April 29, 2008 8:58 AM | Link to this
The project to develop Jekyll Island should be stopped by a grassroots efforts if we want to pass on some of Georgia’s beauty to furture generations.
Interested people should visit
Those who wish to prevent this travesty of nature should keep in mind the famous quote by Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing.”
By Brandy
April 29, 2008 9:10 AM | Link to this
It’s a STATE PARK, not a resort. It should be treated as such.
By Brenda Constan
April 29, 2008 9:25 AM | Link to this
Each year in early spring, I toss a stack of books, some comfortable walking shoes, and my beach bike in the car and anticipate a week of quiet self-indulgence and renewal on Jekyll Island. It is a unique place. Its salt marshes; stately live oaks; maritime forests; wetlands; beaches; and array of wildlife, some of it rare and endangered, awaken in me a need for contemplation and remind me of the power and beauty of the natural world. More significantly, the island makes me reflect on our role as human beings in this world. Because Jekyll Island is a state park, we are, as citizens of Georgia, its stewards, responsible for protecting its quiet natural beauty and its wild life population.
Linger-Longer’s decision to move their proposed development off the beach may appear to be a magnanimous and environmentally sound gesture. However, the gesture merely veneers the real issues concerning development on the island. The new plan will still negatively impact the maritime forest and its flora and fauna, it will still impact the island’s infrastructure, it will still bring excessive traffic and noise to the island, it will still violate the original intent to keep the island affordable for ordinary Georgians. It will still be inappropriate in a state park.
By Diane Shearer
April 29, 2008 9:34 AM | Link to this
Blogs are good, and it’s wonderful that the AJC has given people this opportunity to keep our concerns about Jekyll alive, but we have to do more than blog “to the choir.” Write the governor about the composition of the JIA board. At least two memembers’ terms are up this summer, and one is Boshears. I’m sure Porter and Croy are lobbying the governer to put someone else in that spot! Be sure to vote and when people come campaigning,talk aboutJekyll with them. Politicians need to understand that this is an issue that isn’t going away. Thank the people such as Chapman and Buckner and others who fought for legislation to protect Jekyll and contribute to their campaigns if you can. And finally, visit the web site the Egans work so tirelessly on to keep us up to date on issues and what happened at meetings, but go beyond that and donate some money to the cause if you are able. In the end, if we don’t want to see Jekyll as some gated community run entirely by Linger Longer and their ilk, it’s going to involve lawyers. If you’ve been following the news, you may have noticed that the whole concept of public land in America is under attack.
By Robert Banks
April 29, 2008 10:07 AM | Link to this
The difficulties that emerge with each new proposal for land development simply underline the extremely delicate balance between people and environment that exists on Jekyll Island. Jekyll is a unique resource that presntly serves its local community and draws many of us from thousands of miles away. We know of no other place like it.
By Robert Banks
April 29, 2008 10:07 AM | Link to this
The difficulties that emerge with each new proposal for land development simply underline the extremely delicate balance between people and environment that exists on Jekyll Island. Jekyll is a unique resource that presntly serves its local community and draws many of us from thousands of miles away. We know of no other place like it.
By Robert Banks
April 29, 2008 10:07 AM | Link to this
The difficulties that emerge with each new proposal for land development simply underline the extremely delicate balance between people and environment that exists on Jekyll Island. Jekyll is a unique resource that presntly serves its local community and draws many of us from thousands of miles away. We know of no other place like it.
By Robert Banks
April 29, 2008 10:07 AM | Link to this
The difficulties that emerge with each new proposal for land development simply underline the extremely delicate balance between people and environment that exists on Jekyll Island. Jekyll is a unique resource that presntly serves its local community and draws many of us from thousands of miles away. We know of no other place like it.
By Robert Banks
April 29, 2008 10:07 AM | Link to this
The difficulties that emerge with each new proposal for land development simply underline the extremely delicate balance between people and environment that exists on Jekyll Island. Jekyll is a unique resource that presntly serves its local community and draws many of us from thousands of miles away. We know of no other place like it.
By Robert Banks
April 29, 2008 10:07 AM | Link to this
The difficulties that emerge with each new proposal for land development simply underline the extremely delicate balance between people and environment that exists on Jekyll Island. Jekyll is a unique resource that presntly serves its local community and draws many of us from thousands of miles away. We know of no other place like it.
By Lu Ann
April 29, 2008 10:09 AM | Link to this
Once more I want to stand up and plead for Jekyll Island to remain untouched. Now the forest! Everything on Jekyll is precious to those of us who “escape” there. Riding my bike through the forest is just as renewing and soothing as sitting on the beach. Please let God’s original design be the guiding plan for the future of Jekyll.
By rdhood
April 29, 2008 10:18 AM | Link to this
I don’t see why our lawmakers don’t get it….
Georgia has only one island where a family can go and have a relatively inexpensive vacation. There isn’t much on Tybee (thought the beach is good), and St. Simons is sky high. Jekyll is Georgia’s island for the “common man”. They are trying like h* to price it out of reach and turn it into St. Simons. I know our lawmakers would love a Hilton Head or Amelia, but the average citizen of Georgia just can’t afford that. In “renovating” Jekyll, they will destroy the island as it is today and price it out of the range of many of us. What a shame.
By Tracy
April 29, 2008 10:36 AM | Link to this
Jekyll is the Fox Theatre all over again. We saved the Fox. We must save Jekyll. It is without compare. It is irreplacable. Not so much the man-made as the Fox but the God Given. My next visit to Jekyll will be via this suggested website.
By Nellie Buckhout
April 29, 2008 10:47 AM | Link to this
As a person who has vacationed on the island since 1975 I remain deeply concerned about the proposed development by Linger-Longer. I feel that their primary purpose along with that of most of the JIA members is to turn Jekyll Island from a quiet beautiful state park which is a haven for wildlife, a place where history abounds and a tranquil vacation spot that is affordable to most to a St.Simons look alike where only the wealthy can do more than make a day trip. I think that the comment wait until you see the plan we have before you get concerned is idoitic. Once the plan is in place, it will be harder to stop the powers that be. It is true that there needs to be updates on the island, but not to the extent that they infringe on the whole atmosphere of the island. Island residents have been threatened or at least the threat has been implied that most of the people do not want any houses on the island. Although I am from Michigan I have never heard anyone of the numerous people that I have talked to even imply that foolish. Get real GIA board most of the people don’t want to give Linger-Longer any more money at the expense of their own enjoyment. Take a sensible approach, improve the shopping center, put in a new convention center, build new hotels that are accessable to the convention center, but don’t get greedy and ruin Jekyll Island, Georgia’s Jewel! Save it for the future use of us all.
By Linder Snider
April 29, 2008 11:13 AM | Link to this
Our family has been visiting Jekyll since the early 1970s once or twice a year. The best part of Jekyll is because it is undeveloped, quiet, and peaceful. Jekyll is a true paradise that Georgia should be protecting not developing. If it is developed, this family’s vacation dollars will go elsewhere. Georgia does not need a Hilton Head.
By Reds Raider
April 29, 2008 11:30 AM | Link to this
Linger Longer cannot afford to continue with their pursuit of Jekeyll Island much longer. They are in such financial straights from this situtation already and they are laying off workers and cutting back the hours of the workers they keep at their other resorts now. So keep up the good fight!
By Charmarie Blaisdell
April 29, 2008 12:42 PM | Link to this
Our family has benn coming to Jekyll from out of state for over 30 years.We come for the peace and quiet, the natural beauty, the unusual flora and fauna. We were shocked when we saw Linger Longer’s plans on display at Villa Ospo in March. How can this be? How can anyone in his/her right mind let it happen. Why not build where the Holiday Inn, and Buccaneer once stood, see if people come, and then assess need for more accomodations? Is anyone paying attention to the vacant condos in Florida? Hello? Spruce up the shopping center and the convention center, of course. But leave the precious environment alone. Why? Why? hasn’t some investigative journalist dug into which politician’s and JIA pockets are being lined by Linger Longer? Maybe it is time to clean house at the Capital? yes, we are “from away” so no-one much cares what we think. But we do bring and spend money each year at Jekyll. The Linger Longer plan is a total turn-off. if it happens, we are gone! Keep up the struggle here Georgia citizens. Right does eventually prevail.
By Shazaam
April 29, 2008 12:51 PM | Link to this
My class had a field trip to the 4-H center on Jekyll Island when I was in middle school. That was arguably one of the most memorable experiences in my life. Converting it into another real estate/condo development would be robbing future generations of a fantastic learning experience. Let’s make sure they don’t pave this paradise and put up another parking lot.
By Terry
April 29, 2008 2:18 PM | Link to this
I want to commend the AJC for providing a forum for its readers to comment on the Jekyll Island development issue. The comments that have been posted in response to this initiative make it clear that there is deep public concern over the Jekyll Island Authority’s endorsement of what it chooses to call “comprehensive revitalization” but what, in fact, is new development that goes far beyond what Jekyll needs. One only has to read JIA board chairman Ben Porter’s late March letter to Georgia’s legislators, stating that the only critics of the Authority’s plan are Jekyll residents, to see that the JIA is not being honest in dealing with public input on how best to improve JI State Park. The fact that the JIA, which has a marketing staff of it own, is paying $35,000 a month to an outside PR firm (GCI) to push the idea that Jekyll needs what its private partner, Linger Longer Communities, is offering speaks volumes about the Authority’s inability sell its own development plan, and its heartfelt need to put lipstick on that pig to make it look cute to the general public.
Linger Longer says Georgians need to “rediscover Jekyll” – what really needs to be rediscovered is a JIA board that understands what a State Park is all about; that realizes that a natural asset as precious as Jekyll should not be treated like a “product;” that does its environmental homework before picking development sites; and that truly listens to public opinion and responds accordingly. Gov. Perdue needs to be informed that a number of his JIA board appointees have disqualified themselves as park stewards. He needs to act on that information before it’s too late; before Jekyll takes a giant step toward looking like those upscale condo communities that dot the eastern seaboard.
By Niall Horan
April 29, 2008 2:32 PM | Link to this
I concur with the previous post that quoted Edmund Burke’s famous saying”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Nothing applies more to the proposed commercial real estate development on Jekyll Island than this quote.
I urge all opponents of this proposed ugly development to contact the assignment desks at the news departments of Georgia television and radio stations to tell them the obscene facts and urge them to do a news story.
Also, this proposed development srikes me as the kind of assault on the environment that a national news program would love to cover. Opponents of the plan should call the news departments at CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and others and ask for the e-mail address of the assignment editor; then, send a succint, and to-the-point factual description of the proposal and its impact on the environment. Tell them that the story will resonate with their viewers nationally, and that their film crew will have compelling visuals to shoot with the stunning beauty of this gorgeous island. Jekyll Island should be a rallying point that will serve to bring to attention other similar greedy and predatory assaults on the environment throughout this nation. Opponents of the proposed development of Jekyll Island can turn this into a nationally covered issue if they respond to their own activist inclinations.
Let’s heed Edmund Burke and not do nothing!!!!!!
By Bob
April 29, 2008 2:53 PM | Link to this
Isn’t it terrible when the very people we put into office sell out to corporate profits at the blink of an eye? It seems there’s no end in site for this country until every natural wonder is commercialized. Are politicians for the people or the bottom line at wall street, I forget. How about LLC building a high rise in Sonny Perdue’s backyard without his consent and see how well he enjoys it.
By E. Vil Developer
April 29, 2008 3:01 PM | Link to this
Look, we need something like Myrtle Beach or Daytona Beach in Georgia. There aren’t enough places to stay on Jekyll during peak seasons, so what if we put more hotels up on the island? There’s plenty of land to be developed and if you don’t like it, go somewhere else. It’s state property and if the state wants to use the property to increase its tax revenue, it should be free to do so.
By bob
April 29, 2008 3:45 PM | Link to this
What a wonderful socialistic viewpoint. Maybe the developers should put there development on the mainland for all the reasons stated above. Why? Because greedy developers can maximize profits by building on pristine land which drives up the price per unit ultimately putting more money in there pockets. Mr. developer we know the drill.
I’ve been dealing with a developer in a new subdivision about purchasing a home. From the get go they tried to employ the same pompous attitude they used in the bubble. In a weeks time they dropped price 10k. Week later, received an email dropping another 5k and 2.5k towards closing. Terrible, it’s almost like there begging. Old saying, what comes around goes around.
By Melissa Green
April 29, 2008 3:56 PM | Link to this
There is a saying that goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” So why are they trying to “fix” Jekyll Island. My family has been vacationing on Jekyll every year for a long time. We go there because it is NOT over-developed. Yes, someof the buildings coudl use a little work, but leave the forest, leave the beach and it’s parking lot, and let the deer and birds and alligators have some space of their own. I had a nightmare not too long ago that we were visiting Jekyll and all it contained was a huge mall with apts in between stores. The beach was not even visible because of all the buildings. No, that was not a dream, that was a nightmare. And I woke up knowing that we cannot let this happen. To all who want to ruin Jekyll - it ain’t broke, go ruin your own back yards!!
April 29, 2008 3:56 PM | Link to this
If you want to truly “develop” Jeykll Island, then TEAR DOWN ALL THE EXISTING BUILDINGS that are already there. Redevelop downtown Brunswick with condos, apartment buildings and shops. Then let the people commute over to the island for day use or camping.
By Barbara
April 29, 2008 4:01 PM | Link to this
Jekyll does NOT need any NEW development. Renovations of existing structures would be preferred, OR maybe a “town center” type of development where the small shopping area is now. However, there could be one change made: Please, do away with the fee charged to get onto the island!
By Glenn
April 29, 2008 4:09 PM | Link to this
The motels at the beach are typical of anything run by the government,in terrible shpe, run down, and overpriced for there condition. I say make Jekyl a gambling island so the rest of Georgia will not have to see the gambling if they prefer not to. This will lower our taxes. If you want to commune with nature go to Cumberland Island or Okeefeenokee Swamp.
By Michael Jaski
April 29, 2008 4:15 PM | Link to this
Renovate and redevelop existing properties - YES; Add new luxury condos and hotels - NO. The island has a wonderful character with nothing except the Club higher than 2 stories. This is a state park that is supposed to be affordable to the average Georgian, not a millionaires’ retreat like it once was. The people who can afford the proposed condos and hotels can afford to go to Cumberland.
By Glenn
April 29, 2008 4:20 PM | Link to this
My wife’s grandfather was a senator in the GA legislature when the state acquired Jekyl Island. The legislature took a boat over to look at what they had bought. The boat had to make extra trips to carry all the furnature the members of he legislature stole from the mansions on this visit. My wife’s grandmother cried in shame of how the GA legislature stole from the state of GA as she told this story. Our heritage has been stolen from us for a long time by the ones we elect.
By Holmes Family
April 29, 2008 4:22 PM | Link to this
We have vacationed on Jekyll Island each summer for the past 4 years and will continue as long as the natural areas are preserved. We choose this beach over all others for the peacefullness, family atmosphere and the natural preserves. I do agree that there is need to improve the shopping area and upgrade the existing hotels. However, I don’t see the need to add new additional hotels. I don’t think the current ones have full capacity and it doesn’t make sense to destroy the wildlife for profit and something that will sit half vacant. As a family we enjoy the uncrowded beach and no loud music, etc that you find in the over commercialized Beach resorts. And if we wish to venture out, we cross over to St Simons for the day. We would be terribly disappointed if the dynamics of Jekyll Island changed. The bike trails and wildlife are the highlights of our vacation and we return year after year. Please save jekyll Island from commercializaton.
By cj
April 29, 2008 4:37 PM | Link to this
Surveys show that over 50% of first time visitors to Jekyll never come back! There is a reason for that, it’s called substandard accomodations that were fine in 1972, but do not compare well today to Hilton Head, Amelia Island, Seaside/Destin, etc. I like the place, but my wife refuses to go back. So, GA continues to loose tourism dollars from Georgians who drive out of state to better beaches. If I were in charge, the state would retain and preserve all undeveloped areas, but sell the developed parts to the highest bidders.
By Robert
April 29, 2008 4:38 PM | Link to this
There is no reason to further develop Jekyl Island, other than to line the pockets of a few condo builders. The region does not need the “economic boost” that further development would provide.
Jekyl is one of the few places in America where you can stroll on a beach that hasn’t been lined with hotels and condos. Don’t we have enough beachfront condos and hotels? Why must every linear inch of our shores be developed? Why can’t we leave this tiny, tiny piece alone?
Jekyl is a public treasure. It would be a horrible shame to turn it into a private island and playplace for the extremely wealthy to spend 1 or 2 weeks of the year at.
It’s not like there aren’t any other places in America to own a beach house. If you have the money and want such a thing, what’s wrong with the thousands of other beaches where you can buy one?
Jekyl needs to be left alone.
By crass realist
April 29, 2008 4:40 PM | Link to this
Oh, NO. You big bad developers are going to come in and just RUIN our beautiful little island where the best accomodations are a tent and porta-jon. This is what being in nature is supposed to be! Creature comforts? Those are for wussies!
By Karyn
April 29, 2008 4:42 PM | Link to this
Jekyl is a state treasure! Yes, it does need renovation of the existing hotels. They’re all in sad condition. Several have already been torn down. We go there every year and for the past few years there have been far fewer hotel options. Jekyl does NOT need luxury condos, timeshares, etc. The Jekyl Authority/Linger Longer folks say fewer people have been visiting/staying on Jekyl because of the rundown hotels. I feel it’s instead due to the fact that many of the hotels have been eliminated by demolition, so fewer people even have the option of staying on the island. Re-build the torn down hotels and renovate the remaining hotels.
I can’t believe building in the pristine maritime forest is even being considered! That would be a travesty. The Jekyl Island Authority needs to start listening to the folks who actually go year after year and know what a gem this is for all of Georgia. Want the high priced luxury condo/timeshare? Go to Hilton Head or St Simons Island. Want peace, tranquility and unspoiled beauty not marred by commercialism? Keep Jekyl largely as is and only build in existing footprints.
By R Arthur
April 29, 2008 4:44 PM | Link to this
Rebuild or remodel jekyll’s present hotels,motels and buildings only. Not one inch of beach or forest should be given to any greedy person or developer. no one has the right to change jekyll. Only we, the citizens of this great state,should have that right.
By sally horan
April 29, 2008 4:46 PM | Link to this
I feel that Jekyl’s existing hotels and convention center could certainly use some updating. But, overall no extensive development should be allowed eithr on the beach side or definitely not in the maritime forest. Georgia’s major achievement has been in preserving the coastline (with the exception of St. Simon’s) and that is the State’s major attraction. Let the resort needy folks go to Florida or to South Carolina….we don’t need them here. We have precious few naturally beautiful areas left in this country. Save Georgia from the developers please!
By LA English
April 29, 2008 4:50 PM | Link to this
28 Apr. 2008 I and my family have been going to Jekyll Is. since 1960. I have seen the various motels in varying stages of disrepair/repair (the late great Buccaneer). There was never the attendance to keep them in suitable repair, what with the sparse attendance in the winter. And yet the maritime forest trees have always fascinated me. The way the prevailing winds carved them, awesome! You better thank God for them or the island would have disappeared long ago. So the north end is losing beach, so the south end is gaining. That is the nature of the ‘beast’. Just don’t let greedy man come in and ruin what we have there. Strings of hotels, condos, shopping centers, if that is what entertains you, go elsewhere. Come to Jekyll & breathe a sigh of relief & bask in the sounds of the surf, summer or winter. Lover of the island from Valdosta GA.
By Gail Williams
April 29, 2008 5:04 PM | Link to this
Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how much money is at stake for those who have the power to control the development of Jekyll Island? There is absolutely NO reason for any legislators or JIA members to vote for more development unless they are receiving money or other goodies from the developers. Yes, clean up the place, but do not expand the developed footprint any further. Limit the number of units that may be allowed per square mile, as well, so that the island can be as quiet and peaceful as possible.
By Jim Bloom
April 29, 2008 5:12 PM | Link to this
This is a “no brainer”—redevelop existing hotels and leave the rest alone.
By Bob D.
April 29, 2008 5:21 PM | Link to this
I have been visiting Jekyll Island since the 1950’s. I remember going there and camping at the Cherokee Campground with my parents. My last trip was this past November. Some of my fondest memories are the times spent on Jekyll. I certainly agree that the existing hotels need renovation, but that is the most I would want to see done on the island. We (the people of Georgia) do not need any more development on one of the most beautiful and least developed places on the east coast. The proposed development by LLC can do nothing but harm the island and its wildlife and put money in the pockets of the developers. The JIA and the governor should be ashamed of wanting to turn Jekyll into another Hilton Head or St. Simons. Please keep Jekyll as it is now. Jekyll Island is a place where you can go and relax and be surrounded by nature. I have taken my children and grandchildren around the island and showed them places where I went over 50 years ago. We have watched turtles on the beach and other wildlife in their natural surroundings. No more development! Jekyll is something we can leave for our children and their children to enjoy. I find it unbelievable that the politicians we elected are even considering letting LLC ruin pristine maritime forest and beachfront on Jekyll. I will certainly find out my representitive and senator’s views on this project and will cast my vote accordingly in the next election. I can also sat that my extended family members feel the same way. NO MORE DEVELOPMENT ON JEKYLL ISLAND.
By Amy Barbe
April 29, 2008 5:23 PM | Link to this
One of my favorite things to do while on Jekyll Island is to take the trail behind the old amphitheatre to see the enormous number of wading birds (and on occasion, families of raptors)roost. Many times I check it out 3 times a day! This area sits right in the middle of the maritime forest and is a vital spot for these birds while resting and grooming.
I also think the accommodations need updating, but do not understand why another inch of the island needs to be developed to accomplish this. They have already razed a hotel or two to rebuild, and that is all that is needed. From reading this blog it seems many agree that another “shopper friendly” destination is not wanted or needed. When I picture a Linger Longer Development on Jekyll, I see another Reynold’s Plantation, which took alot of personality and FUN out of Lake Oconee. What a waste of a precious natural resource.
By Patrick
April 29, 2008 5:23 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island was intended to be an affordable family experience. Once again, our Governor is involved in questionable deals with developers at the expense of Georgia citizens. What is needed is a public (Statewide) dialog about what the developers are planning, what are their financial connections to our elected officials, and an awareness campaign about what the average Georgian stands to lose. Half of the people I mention this issue to know nothing about it. More editorials both in print and in the electronic media are needed.
By T B
April 29, 2008 5:24 PM | Link to this
Redevelop the existing developed parcels and still allow the average Georgian to enjoy the beauty of the island. I have been disappointed by the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA), whose member stated that newly redeveloped beach-front rooms should be reserved for high-priced customers; there are plenty of inland places where cheaper rooms could be developed.
I also heard a member of the management team of Linger Longer speak recently. He stated that there was a handful of local Jekyll residents who were making much noise to stop their development because they want to keep the island quiet for themselves. I do not live on Jekyll, but am a member of this group, along with many others across the state.
Please do not let greed spoil the great asset the state currently has. Please only redevelop the existing developed areas.
By Sue Osier
April 29, 2008 5:33 PM | Link to this
I strongly urge that the authorities deciding the future of Jekyll read what the people of Georgia and those from out of state who visit are saying in this blog. Then, they remove their $$$ filter and digest the information. Rebuild the hotels but not greater than three stories on beachfront. Redo the shopping area. But keep away from the Maritime Forest and the 65% of land that is, by law, to remain in its pristine and natural state!!
April 29, 2008 5:47 PM | Link to this
Any development within the dense wooded area west of Beachview Drive will create a patchwork ecology within an established maritime forest and wetland. This wildlife-rich area, designated as a “Nature Preserve” on the JIA’s 1996 Master Plan Concept Map, is the habitat of at least one pair of nesting bald eagles and borders a feeding ground for the endangered wood stork. Further, new information suggests that this area is home to a number of rare plant species as well.
Man made features, including roads and structures, that split the landscape will fragment habitat and restrict animal movement, either directly by forming barriers that animals will not cross, or indirectly by creating noise and pollution that has profound and far reaching effects on animals and birds. Restriction of the movement of animal species, limiting access to mates and resources, causes inbreeding and other disturbances. Further, as development decreases habitat, the remaining wildlife is compressed into smaller and smaller fragmented patches.
Degradation of habitat by pollution, noise, dust, and light, during construction causes animals to experience altered activity patterns, become stressed, and suffer elevated heart rates. Animals that communicate by auditory signals, such as birds, are disadvantaged. Some species show abnormal reproductive behavior in response to noise.
Roads that accompany development cause further disturbance. Increasing levels of lead are found in soils near roads, and this lead moves through vegetation and up the food chain into the bodies of the wildlife, where the toxicity impairs reproduction and causes abnormal levels of mortality. Road construction kills animals and plants directly and exposes low nutrient subsoils, reducing water holding capacity and compacting surface materials. Roads that cut through an intact forest create “edge habitat,” which allows weedy and exotic plants and opportunistic animal species to spread into the forest interior and invade and degrade existing native habitat. Automotive traffic additionally adds to the spread of invasive species and threatens wildlife directly.
Granted, the damage caused by the existing construction in Jekyll Island State Park has already been done. Apparently, generations of flora and fauna in the park have adapted over time to what has been put in place for the purpose of introducing appreciative park visitors to the wonders of a natural barrier island, an admirable goal within reasonable bounds. But why unnecessarily cause bigger problems? For those who claim stewardship of the natural environment and the wildlife of the park to contemplate the redesign of the island’s interior for commercial purposes is nothing short of a crime against nature. Its cost, in terms of damage to the ecosystems, wildlife, and pristine character of Jekyll Island State Park, is much too high.
By Karen
April 29, 2008 5:53 PM | Link to this
We have already lost so much sensitive land to developers in Georgia, and in the entire country, that it is inconceivable to me that we even need to have this conversation. Jekyll needs to be refurbished ONLY, not expanded and covered with impervious surfaces!
By Dan White
April 29, 2008 6:22 PM | Link to this
Jekyll should be kept accessible, affordable, and pristine. Pretty much like it is now. Do no harm to this STATE PARK.
By Barbara Campbell
April 29, 2008 6:30 PM | Link to this
When will we learn the importance of green space? How much more conversation will need to take place before we realize that there is a balance in nature and a relationship that co-exists between man and nature. Man is out of control and thus we have seen how “nature” can be out of control. Hurricanes, tornadoes,droughts,drastic changes in temperature, it’s time we learned to respect Mother Nature or Father time will continue to teach us some serious lessons!
By turtleadvocate
April 29, 2008 6:43 PM | Link to this
If LLC is permitted to push its tree-murdering machines and filldirt dumpers into the maritime forest and maritime swamp forest to the west of their previously coveted beachfront acreage, here is what will happen. The freshwater drainage avenue from eastern Shell Road south to the brackish lake just south of the current Shopping Center will be disrupted, potentially leading to floods in the area proposed for LLC’s new convention center and parking deck. The large bald cypress trees on the northern end of the maritime swamp forest will be killed; they are the last remnant of what was very likely an originally large central freshwater swamp, a common situation for Georgia barrier islands, as seen on maps from the earliest days of colonization. The chain ferns that now form expansive green beds on the floor of the maritime forest swamp grow only in freshwater wetlands, so they will be exterminated. The 40-foot-tall maples are now too close together to permit the condominium/timeshare village to be inserted, so they will have to be timbered out. Those that are not cut are likely to succumb to the filling of the swamp that would have to occur for the building of the condominium village. The crayfish that live in the swamp floor will be smothered and killed. Must we pour dirt and concrete on these beautiful and special creatures, for the sake of a wealthy developer’s increased income? (See for a photographic essay on this topic.)
By Charlie Busfield
April 29, 2008 6:58 PM | Link to this
From what I’ve read, I am far from convinced Jekyll is in bad financial shape. And I suspect visitation may be down, but only slightly. It does seem clear revitalization is needed. So renovate/rebuild existing lodging properties, but without expanding on the existing footprint (and keep it affordable for Georgians of average means). And if the golf course needs modernizing, that seems a good idea for a a seaside destination. Upgrade or modernize the convention center as needed. Leave it at that for now and see how it goes. In any event, I think we should always remain highly circumspect about new development on Jekyll. It’s greatest value to all of us and future generations is its natural assets.
By Rich and Sharon Selzer
April 29, 2008 7:19 PM | Link to this
We have loved Jekyll since we first moved to Georgia 13 years ago. Like everyone else, we love it for what it is (peaceful, beautiful, natural) and for what it is not (commercial, upscale, developed). Yes, the current hotels need to be renovated. But bear in mind that this is a park for EVERYONE, not only for the wealthy. These hotels are often filled with church groups, soccer teams, etc. They cannot and will not spend $250 per night. Those looking for that kind of accomodation need only look to the Jekyll Island Club, or go over to St. Simon’s Island. Please, build something the rest of us can still afford. Update the shops if you wish, but please, no chains or fast food. Fellow Georgians - Please remember this at election time. You get what you vote for!
By Mike Puglise
April 29, 2008 7:29 PM | Link to this
Ok lets do the math and justify it with a little reason: Gov. Perdue has received campaign funds from big company developers and now he has reasoned that the time is right for Jekyll Island to be commercially developed…and there will be no harm done to such a coveted place. Logic and reason has never been companions at the State Capitol….so it stands to reason that all of us that are advocates to save Georgia from such a convergence upon its eco-system are just whistling dixie to the sand that will be soon removed from the pristine beaches of Jekyll. Sonny do what’s right for Georgia!
By Deby Brown
April 29, 2008 7:48 PM | Link to this
During Christmas was the first time I’d been to Jekyll. Being from the Northwest, we love our beaches! From the turtles that lay their eggs there, to the luxury of watching the shrimping boats go strolling by, Georgia should preserve what is there. Yes, it maybe in need of an updated look, however, the kickback feature is something that not every coastline can provide. To have Jekyll turn into another Jersey Shore would be a shame. There is nothing wrong with just letting the island become what it is, a place where families can comeback to just being themselves. Being dog~friendly was a Great thing as well!
April 29, 2008 7:50 PM | Link to this
By David
April 29, 2008 9:00 PM | Link to this
Every year my parents took me to Jekyll Island for our beach vacation. Some of my earliest memories are of this beach. Very little has changed to the island through the years. I now take my children to this location to experience the same.
The visitors to the island, the residents of Georgia, and the Georgia legislators should not allow the type of radical improvements to the island that are suggested. This is a precious resource that, once developed, will not be able to be regained.
There is a reason why I (and many others) go to Jekyll Island. Sure, we could go to some other developed beach location, but we choose Jekyll Island. We also must chose to keep Jekyll Island the way WE want it…just the way it currently is.
By garnet faulkner
April 29, 2008 9:08 PM | Link to this
i think improving existing hotels and shops would be fine. i think future generations should be able to enjoy jekyll’s natural beauty as it is now. peace,garnet faulkner
By Kendall Gray
April 29, 2008 9:10 PM | Link to this
Our park should be kept off limits to private development period. Any rennovation should be strictly controled by our state park service and kept affordable for the average Georgian. If private companies are allowed to build they should pay for their own sewer line and other infrastructure improvements. Otherwise it’s just welfare for the rich to build something most of us don’t want to begin with. And these people claim to be conservative! Hogwash!
By babysodafish
April 29, 2008 9:25 PM | Link to this
I have visited Jekyll Island many times in my nearly forty years, but it has been four years since my last excursion. I have been following the story of the proposed developments from my home in Lansing, Michigan, and I must say I am appalled that such proposals have ever been given any weight. Jekyll Island, as it is today, is a step out of reality. It is a place where my children and I can hike through a forest, stealthily avoiding the hungry eyes of predators, only to emerge on an open, sandy beach to be surrounded by bloodthirsty pirates. It is a midnight walk on the beach, with only moonlight and crashing waves for company, as we mournfully gaze out upon the boiling ocean, hoping for a sign of a vessel which may save us from our shipwrecked circumstance. It is a land of fantasy in a country of ever-increasingly grim realities. This illusion cannot exist amid strips of condominiums and overpriced resorts. The idea of this jewel being transformed into Saint Simon Phase III is simply horrifying to this Great Lakes dame. I am intimately familiar with development, and I have heard all of the arguments in favor of and in opposition to development. Our situations are not entirely dissimilar: My neighborhood is adjacent to the Michigan State Capitol complex, the Library of Michigan, Archives and Museum, and the state’s new Hall of Justice—all tourist draws. More than 90% of the homes in my neighborhood are a century old, and many of them are in desperate need of rehabilitation. Instead of developers purchasing these properties to earn their pieces of eight, they have set their sights on the few remaining green spaces left downtown. One four-acre parcel of grassland, which was meant to be developed as an official Governor’s residence back in the 1970s, was recently purchased by a developer who will be building a total of 65 condominiums and townhouses on the site. Neighborhood residents were allowed to speak their minds, but our public outcry went unheeded. Apparently, we don’t know what’s best for us. We are told, time and again, that the mythically increased tax revenue will be for the good of all. We are told that the sacrifice of the only park in the northern downtown area where you can still see raccoons, groundhogs, Canada Geese, killdeer, and Cooper’s Hawks (to name a few) for the mere chance at a few dollars more is an acceptable sacrifice. We are told that we don’t need a nice, open space where families can picnic, watch parades, play frisbee, or do any of the other activities families enjoy together. There are many other parks in Lansing, after all. Some of them are only a fifteen minute car ride away. (Of course, many downtown residents chose to live here so they wouldn’t need a car!) Enough about my situation—this was supposed to be a missive about YOU, about Jekyll Island. Stick to your guns. YOU know what’s best for your jewel, fight for it tooth and nail. Hold on to it like an old New Yorker clinging to his racing form. Don’t let the fantasy become reality. We’ve got more than enough of that.
By Anna
April 29, 2008 9:27 PM | Link to this
Like many other people, I am strongly against additional development on Jekyll. I have been going to Jekyll Island regularly for years and what draws me there is the unique ecology, affordablility, and the large quantity of natural forests. I am in favor of updating current structures on the island, but I do not believe that we should build any more. I go to Jekyll Island for a reason and if it is changed, not only will the enviornment suffer, but I probably will not chose to go there any longer.
By Anne Davis
April 29, 2008 9:27 PM | Link to this
Pushing development into the Maritime Forest would be a huge mistake. Once a sensitive area is destroyed, it is gone forever. Please preserve Jekyll Island as the unique jewel that it is.
By Jeffrey Sokolow
April 29, 2008 10:14 PM | Link to this
Preserve our coastal jewel and do nothing to extend the human footprint. Renovate the delapidated hotels, tear down the convention center and put in a nature center in a natural setting. Leave the maritime forest alone. Leave the beach alone. Go build your damn condos and timeshares on Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach and leave Jekyll alone. The island just needs a little fixing up, not a corporate takeover and massive development.
By Joyce Bean
April 29, 2008 10:32 PM | Link to this
You only have to look at the Smoky Mountains to see how development will destroy a community. Another example is the beaches in South Carolina. You park in a paid public parking lot and walk to the beach on a small walk area between structures. STOP and plan. This beautiful area is for all of the citizens of Georgia – not just for a few greedy people that give no thought to the area enjoyed by many, regardless of income.
By Chloe
April 29, 2008 10:34 PM | Link to this
No!! Don’t touch Jekyll or it will become as bad as St. Simons 20 miles away, where there are hideous multi-million dollar condos popping up and no one can afford them, plus they destroy the beautiful view from the street. It’s no wonder that the economy sucks and there are foreclosures everywhere, the huge houses that are coming out of no where that everyday people just can’t afford and they sit there…and sit there…and become an eyesore for everyone who passes by. Jekyll is our natural treasure, and no one is going to develop it, end of story. I will personally lie down in front of a bulldozer.
By Chloe
April 29, 2008 10:35 PM | Link to this
No!! Don’t touch Jekyll or it will become as bad as St. Simons 20 miles away, where there are hideous multi-million dollar condos popping up and no one can afford them, plus they destroy the beautiful view from the street. It’s no wonder that the economy sucks and there are foreclosures everywhere, the huge houses that are coming out of no where that everyday people just can’t afford and they sit there…and sit there…and become an eyesore for everyone who passes by. Jekyll is our natural treasure, and no one is going to develop it, end of story. I will personally lie down in front of a bulldozer.
By Mandy
April 29, 2008 10:41 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island holds a special place in my heart. I have so many happy memories of going on marsh walks at 4-H camp, riding my bicycle around the trails that traverse the island, and sitting in the dark on the beach watching for sea turtles to appear. As a young adult living on St. Simons Island, Jekyll was the place where I went to find serenity. Sitting on the beach, with sand dunes covered in sea oats and the natural growth of undeveloped land to my back, it was easy to imagine that I had my own private beach where no other humans ever treaded.
Now the Jekyll of my memories, of my private beach are in danger. Developers want to allow condos, hotels, and shops to sprawl into the undeveloped areas that are the maritime forest. I believe that this would not be just a mistake but a tragedy. Jekyll Island is a State Park! The maritime forests and natural beaches are what make Jekyll so special. If we allow those to be taken away, then Jekyll becomes just another island catering to the whims of vacationing tourists.
I do agree that the existing and recently demolished hotels and convention center do need to be renovated or rebuilt, but I do not think that any other development should be allowed. We need to preserve the wildness that makes Jekyll unique.
By Katie
April 29, 2008 11:44 PM | Link to this
I hate to see any development that will turn Jekyll into St. Simons, Hilton Head, Amelia Island, St. Augustine, the Outer Banks, or worse Sea Island (so only members and owners have right to use the place). Over built, commercialized and worthless in the end. Jekyll should remain a state park, it should remain as it always has been since the state purchased in 1947. They built the first bridge in 1954 which opened to the PUBLIC! No one should build were the maritime forrest is (because it only exist on islands). The beauty and nature of Jekyll should be fought for, protected and saved for our childerns children. I know that development is need - so tare down that which already existed - the old Holiday Inn, the Buccuneer, and the Georgia Coast Inn (which was once the Ramada) - great, build there, the land is cleared. Tare down and rebuild the convention center, put a restaraunt there and a couple SMALL shops. I love the fact that there are NO fast food chains, Starbucks, tons of shops and all. That is why I stay on Jekyll and waste my condo on St. Simons - which has over crowded beaches, trashy beaches, and way too much traffic because it is so over built. I cannot stand to see what became of the Outer Banks and the beaches. Jekyll is a jewel. Families who have discovered it recently don’t want the changes the JIA is overlooking, and the repulican party seemingly could care less as long as their pockets are lined for future reelection campaignes. Linger Longer - did any research the company, who they donate money, broken promises, any potential pending lawsuits, their fanicial background and their ability to help save what is protected by STATE of GA law. Only 35% of Jekyll should be developed at any given time. It was meant to saved and should remain that way. Look at what FDR did during the Great Depression - saving land for the future generations to look at in wonder. We as a human race tend to see the dollar before we realize the damage. You can’t recreate what took thousands of years to create. Jekyll was once a tiny no nothing island, it is written in its geology. Native Americans from the Creeks to the Timicauan used it not only to hunt but to get the natural resources like Loggerhead Sea Turtle eggs, oyseters and used the sea oats off the sand dunes (which are no FEDERALLY protected). Some of the worlds wealthiest Americans called it their winter retreat only three months of the year. Yeah, so what the historic district will remain as it is nearly 204 acres. The Horton House, the small ruins and the DuBignon graveyard will remain protected. But that is not nearly good enough. JIA should know better than anyone that the history tied to the island from the Native Americans, the Hortons, to the Civil War to the Gilded Cage era along with the Logger Head Sea Turtles, the beaches, the maritime forrest, the American Alligator, and other native species need a home that is safe from development. Linger Longer is bad news and so are the politicians who don’t see the chance to really make it known that nothing is going to harm Jekyll. That is will be left in all its natural wonder and it is an island that even has movie history and music videos that capture its splender. Don’t let it be wasted for the wealthy to make there’s again. Don’t let it get to be like other islands - just used for beachfront property. The island is something that needs to be left for all to enjoy without over crowdeding the beaches with condos, hotels, and shops. The beaches should be left for all to enjoy without modern views and lights to scare away what is left of nesting turtles. It is a treasure that still has a lot to offer through 22 miles of hiking and biking trails. St. Andrews Picnic area, Glory Boardwalk (thanks to the movie Glory), South Dunes, the sea wall beach, Driftwood and the Pier. There are the soccer fields where kids love to play in matches and tournaments. The Tidelands Nature Center to discover the native species of Jekyll and the 4-H Camp which gives students from across Georgia the chance to expereince the beach, the forrest, and hands on with animals of all types. The new Turtle Center should be a great tool to educate all on why it is important to save the nesting areas of Logger Heads and other Sea Turtles so they do not go extenict because of humans and their greed for a view. There is still so much that can be offered without developing it like Linger Longer and the republican party who seems to be exteremly uneducated on the island, its species, and the locals who despartely want to be heard in saving their homes. Everyone leases the land from the state plus pays a mortage or buys the buildings out right. What about those that rent and what they want is nothing more than Jekyll to remain as it is now and as it has always been. SAVE OUR HOME, SAVE OUR BEACHES, SAVE OUR FORREST, SAVE US FROM THOSE WHO ONLY SEE THE PROFIT MARGIN AND NO ONE ELSE!
By Susan Locks
April 29, 2008 11:50 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island’s Appeal is in how peaceful it is. Low traffic and an old beach town feel give it an ambiance that’s unique to SC, GA, FL barrier islands; most of which, have been overdeveloped. The only revitalization that is necessary is to revamp the existing hotels. The old shopping center is charming and provides basic essentials and some souvenirs, which is plenty for people that go to the coast because they love the beach. There are many locations suitable for the shoppers and the clubbers leave some for those of us who just love nature. Leave someplace for the animals too.
By David Ward
April 30, 2008 12:03 AM | Link to this
I have a further suggestion for Jim Langford as to how to minimize impact upon the environment under question. leave it alone. I was tremendously offended by his remark dismissing complicity in his plans as “non-productive”. The products he speaks of are to line his pocket with cash gleaned from the destruction of valuable natural resources, and to keep the masses of the non-rich from enjoying our STATE PARKS. I’m so sick of condescending, greedy developers I could spit. Hands OFF you plutocrat!!!
By David Ward
April 30, 2008 12:25 AM | Link to this
I used to visit Fripp Island in South Carolina many moons ago now. Once upon a time, it was a pristine and beautiful place. Remember the jungle in Forrest Gump? That was on Fripp Island before they put in another 18 hole golf course, and a vast family pool complex, and basically turned it into some greedy developers idea of a plastic paradise. Aside from all of the very relevant observations about the negative environmental impact this development on Jekyll will have, it might well be worth remembering that unleashed over-developers with visions of dollar signs blocking all else from view have contributed largely to the economic trudging we are all forced to live in today. I should, perhaps, show a debt of gratitude towards Linger Longer et al., however, as Mr. Langford has renewed my faith in the human condition. That I can feel absolute disgust towards this situation, this lingerlonger group, when there is so much else going on in the world, must surely represent a triumph of the human spirit. Of sorts.
By Chris Sullivan
April 30, 2008 12:25 AM | Link to this
“Linger Longer also plans to build a luxury hotel, town squares, parks, trails and an environmental education center.”
Linger Longer plans to build parks? Isn’t this about like building an amusement park in the middle of Disney World? The whole island is already a park. Leave the island alone. Spruce up the existing hotels and shopping center, but don’t add more room space so that the place becomes an anthill like many beaches. We already have enough places for snobs and insufferable parvenus Maybe they can pave an eight lane road to the above-mentioned “environmental education center.”
By Ken
April 30, 2008 12:30 AM | Link to this
I have been going to Jekyll since I could take long trips in a car. I think my first trip was in 1969. I enjoy Jekyll though I would like to see a few more restaurants and see the existing motels renovated or replaced by similar establishments.
I would like to see more access to the maritime woodlands but not destroy them. Just because it isn’t brick or concrete doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it.
By Lorelei Shipp
April 30, 2008 1:56 AM | Link to this
We visit Jekyll annually and were married in the historic district. As children in the early 70’s, my parents made our family vacations on Jekyll, because it WAS affordable. Last month, I went to Jekyll and visited the JIA and saw the scaled plan of Linger Longer. (This was not the revised plan. Is that still yet to be unveiled? Without it, how can anyone know what’s coming?) One lady was in there to assist me, and she courteously answered my questions. I am opposed to development of undeveloped land on Jekyll-to include most definitely the Maritime Forest area. I’m not opposed to refurbishings of current accomodations and a new Convention Center-that isn’t paid for by tax payer dollars! Even another choice in where to stay would be okay, were it not too highly priced and intrusive. More than anything, I’m opposed to rates above and beyond the standard cost of living increases for hotels, motels and condos on the Island. Additionally, building right on the beach or any closer than other establishments are sitting WOULD change the wildlife element. (We’ve had dolphins or the like come extremely close to us on the beaches, and the tree and boardwalk buffers make Jekyll what it has always been for most like me.)
Were Linger Longer to hold to its printed materials, there would be ceilings on how much they will charge for rooms. Who will hold them to those rates? I don’t want to pay more at the Jekyll Island Club, that we prefer to frequent! It seems portions of this deal will go through, and that’s fine; however, LL could move forward more quickly, if they bended to strong public opinion and decreased the size of their planned property. Additionally, the State could and should intervene more with legislation to protect the interests of the people regarding Jekyll. Upon contacting multiple Representatives, only one responded. Who are they trying to ignore? Protect the Island! Save our memories and those that have been their longer than any guests!
By Lorelei Shipp
April 30, 2008 1:56 AM | Link to this
We visit Jekyll annually and were married in the historic district. As children in the early 70’s, my parents made our family vacations on Jekyll, because it WAS affordable. Last month, I went to Jekyll and visited the JIA and saw the scaled plan of Linger Longer. (This was not the revised plan. Is that still yet to be unveiled? Without it, how can anyone know what’s coming?) One lady was in there to assist me, and she courteously answered my questions. I am opposed to development of undeveloped land on Jekyll-to include most definitely the Maritime Forest area. I’m not opposed to refurbishings of current accomodations and a new Convention Center-that isn’t paid for by tax payer dollars! Even another choice in where to stay would be okay, were it not too highly priced and intrusive. More than anything, I’m opposed to rates above and beyond the standard cost of living increases for hotels, motels and condos on the Island. Additionally, building right on the beach or any closer than other establishments are sitting WOULD change the wildlife element. (We’ve had dolphins or the like come extremely close to us on the beaches, and the tree and boardwalk buffers make Jekyll what it has always been for most like me.)
Were Linger Longer to hold to its printed materials, there would be ceilings on how much they will charge for rooms. Who will hold them to those rates? I don’t want to pay more at the Jekyll Island Club, that we prefer to frequent! It seems portions of this deal will go through, and that’s fine; however, LL could move forward more quickly, if they bended to strong public opinion and decreased the size of their planned property. Additionally, the State could and should intervene more with legislation to protect the interests of the people regarding Jekyll. Upon contacting multiple Representatives, only one responded. Who are they trying to ignore? Protect the Island! Save our memories and those that have been there longer than any guests!
By Nancy E
April 30, 2008 7:23 AM | Link to this
What is it about Jekyll Island as it is that cries for a boost of dollars? The entrance to the island has never been more appealing. The sunrise over the water remains breathtaking. Sunsets on the marsh are spectacular. The bike paths lead one around and through the glories of nature—free. The deer ignore us. The bunnies munch. The alligator rests peacefully in his/her pond. Birds dip and dive, perch and pose. The soccer fields are used and groups of teen study wildlife rather than mill about a mall. Two places offer great ice cream cones. Traffic does not line the streets. I don’t go to Jekyll to shop. I go to Jekyll to enjoy the island, the sights, the sounds, the smell, the feel of nature allowed to be itself. If one of the “average Georgians” to whom the island is said to belong wants more, there are enough places that have been developed to the point of being unrecognizable images of their former selves to suit the entire population of the state. But, how many Jekyll Islands are there??? Left to the developers and the politicians who support them for their own financial and personal reasons, we can within a short time frame say goodbye to the Jekyll Island we know. Forget my grandchildren ever knowing the island I know. Someone tell me why it’s necessary to abandon to financial whim an old friend.
By Bill Weaver
April 30, 2008 7:41 AM | Link to this
I want our state officials to back off from the idea that Jekyll Island should be a profit center and not a part of the State budget. Where is the pride in owning and supporting a pristine and rustic park on the coast. Good management by our officials could keep Jekyll Island a natural treasure and still be attractive and affordable for the average citizen
By Rennie Fulford
April 30, 2008 8:08 AM | Link to this
I agree with all the comments posted thus far. I have been visiting Jekyll since I was 8 years old. My husband and I still spend at least a week there every year.
I would suggest that we replace the JIA board with members who will represent the interest of the people. Let’s upgrade the existing buildings on the Island and leave the beauty and serenity intact. To create another Hilton Head would be a crime. Linger Longer should be told to go elsewhere to create their monster!
By Pepaw
April 30, 2008 8:11 AM | Link to this
I agree, 100%, with all the comments posted so far. It would seem to me that the current JIA board does not represent the interest of the people, and therefore, needs to be replaced.
Updating the current facilities is a necessity, but changing Jekyll into another Hilton Head is totally unthinkable!
By Timmy H
April 30, 2008 8:13 AM | Link to this
I visited Jekyll Island for the first time a few months ago and was very impressed. No Starbucks,McDonalds,etc. it was great! It was nature at its best. Don’t take that away from future generations. I am a firm believer in capitalism….when it makes sense. If anything update or redevelop the existing structures, but don’t develop new buildings.
By b ward
April 30, 2008 9:26 AM | Link to this
I agree update the present facilities and leave Jekylls beauty in God’s hands. The wealthy want warmer weather in January, February and March. They certainly wouldn’t be coming in the summer months. So I don’t know who going to fill these expensive condo’s and rooms.
By Barbara Harris
April 30, 2008 9:43 AM | Link to this
I have just been to Jekyll Island this weekend. I saw more people there than I have ever seen on any visit and they were staying in motels that are already there. While there talking to those not from Georgia, comments were made that the dunes were beautiful, that you can actually picnic under the shades of huge oaks, that there are bath rooms along the beach with running water, and that it is not commercial like Tybee and Florida beaches. People should wake up and see that the swamps, dunes and keeping Jekyll as it is keeps people coming there. What happened to the old Holiday Inn, is it going to be replaced by Condo’s? There are condo signs there.
By Mary Lindsey Lewis
April 30, 2008 9:44 AM | Link to this
Has LLC forgotten that this park belongs to the people of Georgia? It should not be part of a “profit picture” for a private corporation. Refurbish the old hotels and do nothing else. There are plenty of other places on the coast that have already been “improved/destroyed” for those citizens who like shopping. Leave something for those of us who go for other reasons.
By Mike Cary
April 30, 2008 9:51 AM | Link to this
Many projects must be”started” and then actually completed on Jekyll Island. The three missing hotels must be replaced and soon. I cannot understand why the folks in Atlanta have not used their considerable clout to get these projects off dead center. The convention center has to be replaced and relocated. The shopping district is a pity, a left-over from another day. Do these projects along with maybe a hotel attached to the new convention center. With these projects completed then take a step back and see what else if anything needs to be added. Also, do somthing about the maintenance or operation of the golf courses as they are slipping fast. Maybe consider leasing them to a private operator. In addition thought should be given to have the convention center operated by a professional organization as are most successful similar venues across the country.
By islandhow
April 30, 2008 9:52 AM | Link to this
Here’s an idea: Instead of moving the LLC development across Beachview, move it across the county (or state). I don’t know of anyone who would object to putting up new motels on the footprint of the old ones. The state park doesn’t need additional encroachment onto the dunes or maritime forest. Let’s put preservation of our precious natural resource above developer greed.
By mark
April 30, 2008 9:55 AM | Link to this
If the first design by Blingler Longer has been rejected, don’t we start all over with a new design and development competition?
How many failed designs are we going to have to look at before the developer and JIA wears us down?
But first, before we do anything else, let’s set a Functional Program that all Stakeholders buy into rather than imposed from above by a bunch of appointed political hacks on the JIA.
By Annette
April 30, 2008 9:55 AM | Link to this
There has ALREADY been too much development on Jekyl Island. As someone who enjoys the natural world and has enjoyed Jekyl for four decades I find the goals of development (more concrete, more people, more profit) to be obscene.
By Lee Martin
April 30, 2008 10:01 AM | Link to this
Have we not learned the lessons of Katrina? FEMA’s expenses are paid with taxpayer money and insurance rates for homes and properties in coastal areas are subsidized, indirectly, by taxpayers. I went to Jekyll on a ferry soon after the state took it over when I was a young boy. I remember the caretaker told my parents that the prisoners from the small prison on the island would set the woods on fire to drive the snakes out to the beach so they could kill them with machetes. “we had three roads going into the forest. That, for sure, will be reduced.” Sure, reduce it to one and once the project is built then add the other two, or more. Georgia needs to move into the 21st century of environmental awareness. We have so many natural resources, we can’t appreciate what it means to lose them.Save Jekyll from development for our politician’s grandchildren, whom, we pray, will be more compassionate.
By Crystal Turner
April 30, 2008 10:08 AM | Link to this
This issue parallels the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Piedmont Park Conservancy destroying the little bit of woods left in the park. Money and power win over what people want, which is PARKS. I hope there’s enough angry people to kill this capitalist money machine.
By Michael Jaski
April 30, 2008 10:19 AM | Link to this
“Surveys show that over 50% of first time visitors to Jekyll never come back!”
So you say, CJ. Please provide the links to these surveys to back up your statement.
By Michael Jaski
April 30, 2008 10:20 AM | Link to this
“Surveys show that over 50% of first time visitors to Jekyll never come back!”
So you say, CJ. Please provide the links to these surveys to back up your statement.
By Ellen Corrie
April 30, 2008 10:20 AM | Link to this
Thank you AJC and all of you who love Jekyll and our precious coastal ecosystem as much as I do! I am not ashamed to say I’ve cried as I’ve read the remarks here. You’ve expressed my feelings about the importance of protecting Jekyll’s ecosystems and the ridiculousness of the development process better than I could. The arrogance shown by LLC, JIA, and too many elected officials in ignoring public opinion has been so maddening. For too long, the JIA and LLC have made comments clearly contrary to facts. And it seems clear if allowed they will proceed with this development without doing impact studies to give them facts about how much and what kind of development Jekyll’s ecosystem can bear.
By Eugene S Adams
April 30, 2008 10:26 AM | Link to this
Keep the island as natural as Possible. Only the facilities that short time visitors would need
By J. McClung
April 30, 2008 10:40 AM | Link to this
The JIA needs to fix the hotels that are there and not worry with all the NEW hotels and condo’s that can be built. We go to the island because its NOT like all the other vacation spots. You can hear yourself think and enjoy the ocean and the wildlife. To make JI like Hilton Head or Dayton is not in the best interest for Ga.
By Gene & Ruth
April 30, 2008 11:16 AM | Link to this
Will someone please tell us when becoming a politician makes a person a God. Our Glynn County Commissioners, Governor and all those who should have our best interests at heart are NOT listening to our wishes on many different fronts. From trying to destroy our CITIZEN OWNED JEKYLL ISLAND to taking up many blocks in downtown Brunswick to expand a jail that should never have been put there, they just are not listening to us, the citizens/taxpayers. We should never have voted for Sonny Perdue, the SPLOST and other taxes that have been spent unwisely many times. And have we all finally realized that something smells really bad about the whole JIA/Linger Longer deal. Is it time to start a civil suit or something against their plans. We are so tired of being insulted by the Linger Longer advocates just because we don’t agree with their plans to destroy our island. If there is any justice left in this world, maybe we will live to see them all replaced by a more caring Governor.
By Heather McElroy
April 30, 2008 12:10 PM | Link to this
I’ve been visiting Jekyll Island my entire life. Both of my parents were from Brunswick and I feel so priviledged to have been able to enjoy so many wonderful memories there. I’ve now been able to share those wonderful memories with my husband and hopefully one day start new ones with our children. I beg of you to listen to the citizens of this state and LEAVE JEKYLL ALONE! Yes, some of the hotels do need a little sprucing up, but that doesn’t mean you have to mow down everything beautiful and historic to that lovely island, use the same foot print of existing building and revitalize. Please don’t let LLC and lobbyists make decisions the voters of Georgia clearly disagree with!
By glenn Rice
April 30, 2008 12:23 PM | Link to this
The crown jewel of the atlantic seaboard is about to be ravaged , if the linger longer plan goes through. Rebuild the present motels and leave the rest of the island alone! I’ve been going to Jekyll Island for the last 40 years and it’s suck a pleasure to go to a place that hasn’t had a wholesale commerization . This is a state park for God’s sake.
April 30, 2008 12:26 PM | Link to this
We say leave it be. Upgrade the buildings YES. Kick Linger Longer out. Kick the money greedy developers out. Fire the JIA director. Let the people who love Jekyll have a say in the upgrade - the biggest say.
By Suzanne Johnson
April 30, 2008 12:41 PM | Link to this
I drive 17 hours one-way to visit Jekyll Island and walk amongst her amazing beauty. Rebuilding the current facilities is understandable, but destroying what makes Jekyll so special is only good for one thing — MONEY! Please let her continue as God created her. Its simply the right thing to do.
By Roger Harris
April 30, 2008 12:42 PM | Link to this
First, Jekyll should not have been developed. Secondly, the only development/renovation should be confined to the existing developed areas with no intrusion on undeveloped areas so as to preserve the eco system that exits today. Jekyll is a unique visitor destination that should not be compromised for the almighty dollar so that future generations can experience it’s beauty and wonder.
By Hazel Motes
April 30, 2008 12:44 PM | Link to this
“Linger Longer also plans to build a luxury hotel, town squares, parks, trails and an environmental education center.”
Linger Longer plans to build parks? Isn’t this about like building an amusement park in the middle of Disney World? The whole island is already a park. Leave the island alone. Spruce up the existing hotels and shopping center, but don’t add more room space so that the place becomes an anthill like many beaches. We already have enough places for snobs and insufferable parvenus Maybe they can pave an eight lane road to the above-mentioned “environmental education center.”
By Ellen Fix
April 30, 2008 12:59 PM | Link to this
Any time the word “barrier island” and “development” are used in the same sentence should bring up a red flag. It means someone’s going make money at the expense of nature — and often culture. This has already happened, unfortunately, on South Carolina’s Dafauskie Island, as a matter of fact.
I mean, are there masses of citizens up in arms because we have “too many maritime forests in Georgia”? Is there a loud outcry about the dirth of hotels and condos on Southern shores? Are people protesting because the marshes and wetlands are suffering from lack of development?
The answer is, decidedly, no. There is no such demand. So send the developers back where they came from. Renovate older structures that are already there. If Jekyll Island visitors go searching for shopping malls, direct them to Lenox Square. - Show quoted text -
By Betty Rice
April 30, 2008 1:06 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is great just the way it is. I remember my first visit and how I was so impressed by the ocean drive and all the trees along the beach. I can see where there is room for the old hotels to be rebuilt. But building condo’s would take away from the island as we know it. It is so family oriented like it is. A nice quiet place to get away and ride bikes and walk on the beach. So please leave it as it is.
By Jeff Egan
April 30, 2008 1:19 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is a rare beauty that should be kept preserved as it is. Upgrading existing facilities is okay but why mess up a unique treasure? God created a marvelous masterpiece so don’t tarnish the work of the Master so that in turn people may appreciate and enjoy the natural beauty that Jekyl Island has to offer.
By peter & patricia Torres
April 30, 2008 1:21 PM | Link to this
Being an avid camper,and hiker, i have seen what development does to pristine areas around the country.Too soon natural wilderness is paved over and ATV’s roll around the the unpaved forrest.
By jim fowler
April 30, 2008 1:42 PM | Link to this
we have stayed on Jekyll for the past 10 years. We now stay for 4 months. We are interested in keeping Jekyll as it has been for years. There is now question that improvements need to be made. The shoping center is out of date. Does the civic center need to be replaced or can it be up-graded? The three hotels that have been torn down at the south end need to be replaced. This would add many rooms for visitors. We have always said “don`t let Jekyll become a St. Simons”.
By Tricia Compton
April 30, 2008 2:00 PM | Link to this
I grew up vacationing at Jekyll Island and have so enjoyed how the island doesn’t change. In the time we live in, change is inevitable and expected, but at Jekyll, things stay the same. That is why people keep coming back and bringing their children and grandchildren. My grandparents took me there and now I am taking my own kids there for the same reasons generations before did. We can really vacation there and rest and relax without the hustle and bustle of ‘the world’. This island is an escape from the stress and anxiety of the real world and provides comfort to those of us looking for peace. Please don’t develop more land for hotels/condos, but enhance the areas that are already developed. I love riding down the streets of Jekyll knowing that I have seen the same houses and areas for many years and will hopefully for many years to come. My 3 preschoolers love Jekyll already because of the beach, playground, and putt-putt. My hubby and I enjoy it because there is never too many people there. Want an escapade? Keep Jekyll Georgia’s hidden jewel with some upgrades. It provides stability and consistency in a chaotic world. Thank you!
By Elizabeth M
April 30, 2008 2:28 PM | Link to this
As I read the comments of CJ whose wife prefers Hilton Head, Amelia Island and Destin, I thought of how perfectly he illustrates the point here. There are so very many high end and high density developments. CJ’s wife has several choices for that type of beach experience. And there are so very few places like Jekyll where a more low key, natural (think of the array of birds and of the sea turtles’ nesting habitat), and affordable beach experience can be found.
Sonny Perdue, Jekyll may not be the flashiest tart on the shoreline, but she is an absolute gem and is beloved by Georgia’s citizens. ANY atempts to develop or redevelop her facilities in any way should be a very long and carefully thought out process with serious input from the public. Once the pristine Jekyll has left us and gone into that world of “other developed beaches”, she won’t come back to us. And the nesting loggerhead turtles likely won’t either. Please protect Jekyll! Please!
By Greg
April 30, 2008 2:36 PM | Link to this
I’ve been vacationing on Jekyll every year for years, having married into a family tradition of treasured Jekyll memories spanning 40 years. The island is unique and beautiful. That written, the notion that preserving it as it is today is essential to retaining its beauty ignores the simple reality that it took development to get to where we are today.
I’ve looked over the proposals, and nowhere do I see an intent to level the forests. Hyperbole and histrionics add nothing to this debate. From my vantage point, it seems that the island could use some managed growth.
I think it is good and appropriate that people work to ensure that growth is appropriate to the island, but I think those who wring their hands at the notion of any new development need a lesson in economics. Properly managed growth could channel needed money into programs and facilities to further safeguard the island’s natural beauty and living resources.
Absent some managed development, Jekyll’s economy will suffer in the long term. Better to negotiate from a position of strength today, than from a position of weakness tomorrow. Those who love Jekyll should work hand-in-hand with those planning development on the island, not to stop it, but to ensure its impact is a net positive for the island.
By Mike Hall
April 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Link to this
I have been going to Jekyll Island for over 40 years. The beauty of the island is the home feel and total relaxation you get knowing it is not an amusement park or a beach so congested that it becomes a chore rather than a vacation. Update, remodel,rebuild existing property,but do not add more,making the island less. More development will destroy the reasons most people go there to start with——-freedom to enjoy the beauty of the beach and the peace that comes with it.
By Charlie Stubbs
April 30, 2008 3:04 PM | Link to this
Development should consist of replacing the existing facilities and not one square foot of additional development is needed. Affordable hotel rooms and access to parking and the beach is my primary concern.
By Charlie Stubbs
April 30, 2008 3:05 PM | Link to this
Development should consist of replacing the existing facilities and not one square foot of additional development is needed. Affordable hotel rooms and access to parking and the beach is my primary concern.
By Charlie Stubbs
April 30, 2008 3:05 PM | Link to this
Development should consist of replacing the existing facilities and not one square foot of additional development is needed. Affordable hotel rooms and access to parking and the beach is my primary concern.
By Juddy Johnson
April 30, 2008 3:25 PM | Link to this
I find it constantly amazing at how L.L.C. keeps commenting on how their development will be the model of enviromentaly correct building. FYI destroying a maritime forest to build Condo’s, shopping and hotel’s is not enviromentaly friendly. By all means renovate within the footprint of the existing structures, but please leave the rest of the island alone. We do not need an economic engine when we have a pristine area unlike any other. I have been extremely disappointed in our so call “leaders” stand on this issue and plan to remember them at the polls. Thank you to the AJC for giving us this forum and to Jeff Chapman and Debbie Buckner for providing true leadership and listening to the people of Georgia
By Bob D.
April 30, 2008 3:27 PM | Link to this
Greg, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Haven’t you read the many posts. Jekyll does not need any more growth. I have been going to Jekyll for 50 years, and what makes it so special is the fact it is almost the same as it was in the 1950’s. The absence of change, the peaceful atmosphere, the wildlife are what makes Jekyll special to the people of Georgia and the folks who continue to visit year after year. Renovate the existing hotels, but do not develop one more inch of this State and national treasure. The governor and state legislators who do not listen to the people about Jekyll will have a tough time come next election. I for one will do all I can to make the development on Jekyll Island an issue. The interior of the island (maritime forest) should be left alone also. I, too have looked at the proposal(s) by LLC and at their website. The renderings of the proposed renovations remind me of Amelia Island and other “developed” areas on the coast. It is scary. People come back to Jekyll year after year because there has not been major changes. It is a family island where you relax and enjoy nature. Leave Jekyll the way it is now. Please.
By cam simpson
April 30, 2008 3:35 PM | Link to this
i don’t think we need luxuary hotels for the rich and famous. we need to rebuild the existing ones that were torn down and maybe add to them. but keep them affordable for average georgians and any other average families that want to spend an affordable vacation there as we have for over 30 years. keep it natural and serene.
By Helen Garrett
April 30, 2008 3:40 PM | Link to this
What part of “NO” does this developer, LLC not understand? Hands off one of GA’s natural resources. Go build and develop where you are wanted and needed.
There is no need here except to rebuild on existing footprints. We can get local companies to bid these smaller projects and liven up our beloved Jekyll Island.
Just as we don’t want the historic houses torn down, we don’t want the forest destroyed. Keep your hands off the natural buffers which protect the coast line, the islands.
The local politicians have made too many promises they should not keep. Loyalty is owed to the “local residents who cast the votes for you and you need to remember November is right around the corner”. I have kept my list.
By Don
April 30, 2008 4:01 PM | Link to this
The areas once occupied by hotels are now vacant property. Why is this the case? Are the owners waiting to see what Linger Longer eventually does before turning a shovel? If these hotels were constructed and created at least as many rooms for visitors as previously available, much of the of problem would be addressed. Visitation is down because there has been a lack of appropriate accomodations. An additional hotel built adjacent to the convention center seems reasonable but I am not so sure that the current center needs to be totally replaced. If new and replaced hotels are ever constructed, I am hopeful that in the future, the JIA or who ever has the responsibilty to oversee the upkeep of such facilities,meets this responsibilty with vigor. If not we will be looking at a recurring problem of hotel owners taking their profits and not addressing the important issue of keeping their facilities continually acceptable.
By Ellen Welden
April 30, 2008 4:03 PM | Link to this
A dozen or more family members and I venture to Jekyll Island every year for over 35 years now. Our only reason to be there is that it is not a Hilton Head or a Daytona or one of many over-developed coastlines. We come there because it has natural, pristine beauty. It’s quiet and it is quaint. It is the best beach for children to learn and explore a coastal environment as well as a maritime forest and above all they enjoy it with their families.
Certainly some hotels have fallen into disrepair, and certainly the strip mall and convention center could use a makeover but to build a massive complex as proposed by Jim Langford of LLC, JIA and Governor Perdue that will encroach on either the beach or the forest is purely reckless and no matter how many times as even seen in this blog the visitors keep saying no, no, no to development; the ones that keep saying yes, yes, yes are the same ones who stand to gain the most from it financially and they should be ashamed that they want to take this away from the children, my children and future generations. Once a maritime forest or a beach front is developed, it’s gone for good.
Leave Jekyll Island without condo’s, timeshares and upscale shopping, I can find that anywhere but a pristine maritime forest that is home to native plants and animals not found anywhere else; a beach that is home to families with children, sea turtles, and sea birds is a rare find indeed, a Jewel. Leave it an island paradise where all children can learn about what God gave it naturally, and what no developer can ever begin to replace.
By Terry
April 30, 2008 4:13 PM | Link to this
You’re right; Jekyll needs managed growth, the key word being “managed.” The fact is that, not counting the proposed oceanfront town center project, five oceanfront hotels will be rebuilt on Jekyll over the next five years, leading to a doubling of the island’s current number of hotel rooms and condos. One would think that the JIA would want to weigh the results of that very significant growth (in terms of increased revenues, more visitors, and impact on the experience of being on Jekyll) before entertaining the kind of development being proposed by Linger Longer Communities.
The last line of Sunday’s AJC article on the Jekyll issue has some guy named Garvey, who works for the JIA, as saying that, “Our goal is to be a model for how development takes place on the coast.” Well, the JIA had better retract that statement before someone has a field day with it. This is the same JIA that: 1) refused to adopt a Conservation Plan that would have identified Jekyll’s environmentally senstive areas so that appropriate development sites could be identified; 2) refused to conduct an envrionmental effects study for the Linger Longer town center site, ignoring the obvious fact that Georgia’s Shore Protection Act would make beachfront development of this type problemmatic; 3) failed to conduct an island capacity study before soliticitng development proposals for its town center project; and 4) failed to follow the recommendation in its own 2004 Master Plan Update, which called for a 28-acre town center site that would have allowed for managed redevelopment and modest growth.
Now the JIA finds itself living a public relations nightmare day after day because of its failure to do what neded to be done to ensure that Jekyll is revitalized in a responsible fashion. So, how does the JIA address this unfortunate situation? It shells out $35,000 a month to a PR firm (GCI) in an effort to make a flawed approach to “managed growth” seem like “a model for how development takes place along the coast,” hoping that people who are ill-informed about the JIA’s version of ‘revitalization’ will buy what GCI is trying to sell.
After having scanned the 100+ comments written above, I do not envy this Garvey guy or GCI. Seems like folks are a whole lot smarter than the marketing gurus think they are.
By Stephen
April 30, 2008 4:20 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is one of the most unique places on the Atlantic coast, and Georgia’s management of its islands has resulted in a botanical and wildlife treasure. I have spent more than 40 years of family vacations on this languid island, and the notion of turning it into another Amelia Island or Hilton Head is just appalling to me. It takes small thinking to believe that the only way to make a place attractive or successful is to imitate the path every other beach resort has taken. I agree on renewing the ground leases. We don’t own property there, but that would assure a continued mellow pace of life on this very special island. They should only allow upgrades on the footprints of existing development, and anyone who tells you that otherwise is necessary for profitability is just filled with developer greed and disingenuity.
By Greg
April 30, 2008 4:41 PM | Link to this
Bob D. - You are welcome to type the word “wrong” all you want, but it is no substitute for an actual argument. If you think you know of real, substantive reasons the proposed development is a bad idea, share them. (Reasons beyond the simple fact that you don’t personally want them.) In the alternative, you might try to show others the respect for their opinions that you would want them to show you for yours.
By Stephy Sipes
April 30, 2008 4:42 PM | Link to this
My family has been making the two-day trip to Jekyll every year since before I can remember. And I loved the way it was when I was little. I know you can’t always stop change, but if it’s going to be completely different than what I grew up with, I will have no reason to spend the money it takes to keep coming back. It’s not JUST the development of previously undeveloped parts that concerns me, although of course that’s a big deal too. But the idea of tearing down perfectly good shops or hotels to redevelop “better” ones just irks me to no end. The old shopping center, the putt-putt course, the normal (not “ritzy”) hotels: those are the things I come back for. If I wanted perfect beaches, I’d go to Destin. If I wanted elitist accommodations I’d go to Hilton Head. I want a place that feels like home but with less stress & more fun.
By bigjake
April 30, 2008 5:19 PM | Link to this
Terry,You hit the nail on the head! Tell your friends and have them tell teir friends. Well Done.
By bigjake
April 30, 2008 5:20 PM | Link to this
Terry,You hit the nail on the head! Tell your friends and have them tell their friends. Well Done.
By Marcia
April 30, 2008 5:38 PM | Link to this
Well said Terry. I am surprised the JIA and LL haven’t sent their PR goons to start posting pro-development paragraphs. It is true, the State of Georgia had a field day when representatives visited the island after it was bought in the 40s and alot of the millionaire furniture was sent to the Governor’s Mansion and his personal home. Well history has happened full circle because our current Governor is giving away Jekyll for development. I am ashamed I voted for him. I will actively campaign against ANY politician who “sells” what belongs to the people of Georgia. This is also why I support Jeff Chapman- he truly represents us. I say we vote him in for governor.
By Laura Parker Carrico
April 30, 2008 6:00 PM | Link to this
Jekyll could improve existing structures, but no new businesses needed. I will never know how a convention center was built there in the first place. A state park, of course, should have the “necessities” but that is all. Leave it as pristine as possible. Enough said.
Laura Carrico Raleigh, NC
By turtleadvocate
April 30, 2008 6:14 PM | Link to this
Greg: Terry is correct — you are overlooking the fact that both of the new hotels to be built south of the Days Inn will include cottage or condominium units, lots of them. Furthermore, the Clarion Oceanfront has had its plan for addition of condominium units approved. Thus, there are already plans for building of many condominium units in the Park. This makes Terry’s sensible suggestion seem quite reasonable: that the non-LLC hotels and their condominiums be completed and monitored for business success before any St.-Simons-like LLC villages are started. Let us also remember: LLC is the Private Partner, but the Jekyll Island State Park Authority retains the Master Developer responsibility — this was specified clearly in the presentation by the Park Authority to the State Legislature, clarifying the nature of the Private Revitalization Partner. The Private Partner should be responsible and sit quietly on the sidelines until the currently planned renovations and new builds on the old footprints are complete and operating.
By John Graham
April 30, 2008 6:22 PM | Link to this
Jekyll truly is a “jewel”! I flew down to Jacksonville, rented a car and spent time there in February and it never disappoints. Too bad the politicians who call themselves “conservatives” don’t know squat about “conserving”!
I hope Jekyll Island remains in its current state with no new commercialism just for the sake of commerce.
If Georgians want condos, then drive or fly up to Myrtle Beach, SC! No maritime forests there—just concrete, asphalt and pollution.
annual Jekyll Island visitor Greensboro, NC
By susan gay
April 30, 2008 6:25 PM | Link to this
My family has been coming to Jekyll Island for over 20 years. We travel 12 hours from Kentucky to enjoy the quiet and pristine enviroment. Not to be part of some cookie cutter resort or to pay a fortune we do not have. It is affordable and totally relaxing whether on the beach searching for shells, enjoying the sun, taking a turtle walk to see nesting habits, or playing golf that the average person can afford. Let some greedy company come in and destroy the enviroment and all that will be gone. It will just be another place only the wealthy can afford and wildlife and fauna will be destroyed. The visitors then will not even use the beach, they’ll sit around the pool and in the evening look at the beach from their balconies. I say update and improve what is there. Fancy shopping is not needed. If I wanted to shop I have plenty stores at home. The only thing I would add is one or two nicer restaurants. Blackbeards is nice but one step up from there would be nice. This is a state park and should keep that atmosphere. I hate the thought that my grandchild who was born this year will not enjoy what his mother and grandparents have over these years. Fight the greed of corporations.
By mary
April 30, 2008 6:46 PM | Link to this
For the life of me I cannot understand why this developer will continue on a path that is so wrong, take a beating in the press, and all of this while the opposition forces continue to grow stronger. Could there be some even greater prize on the horizon? At least if LLC backs down now, they could graciously attribute their withdrawal to economic conditions. If not, they will continue to take a beating from all sides. Just shows the nature of the beast, they will stop at nothing to ruin this historic natural resource.
Kudos to all of the grassroots efforts of Georgians and beyond!
By Jekyll Island
April 30, 2008 6:56 PM | Link to this
My name is Jekyll Island. I’m a small, barrier Island off the coast of Georgia that became a State Park. I’m in the news a lot lately because they say I’m old and in need of repair. Well I am old, but, the only parts of me that need repair are what the human race has taken from me. Years ago man built golf courses, homes and hotels and everyone seemed happy. Since that time many have crossed my paths, walked my beaches and enjoyed the uniqueness I have to offer. Compared to many of my cousin islands I have remained, for the most part, unaffected by the intrusion of man. The complaints that now surround me have to do with the changes made by man. I don’t change with time; but, what man creates does change with time. Some of the accommodations built by man have been updated or replaced….most have not. No one disagrees that updating or replacing these existing areas needs to be done. For that matter, I feel it is your responsibility to maintain these areas you have claimed as yours, in a way that the citizens of the State of Georgia and myself can be proud of. These are critical times for me and I have no control over my future. What you must remember is, that, whatever you take from me now…will change me forever. I make no apologies for what I have become or will become. It is you, and mostly officials working for you in the State of Georgia, who will ultimately be responsible for any apology.
Jekyll Island The Golden Isles of Georgia
By G. Brown
April 30, 2008 7:24 PM | Link to this
To change the current footprint of Jekyll Island with new development would be deplorable. Listen to the people of the State who own this beautiful island - rebuild and/or remodel existing motels/hotels; yes, update and facelift the shopping district; but, for God sakes don’t mess up our beach front or the maritime forest. The “money grubber” developers will not be happy until Jekyll looks like Daytona Beach it seems!!
By Jan
April 30, 2008 7:26 PM | Link to this
As a Georgia resident and frequent vacationer at Jekyll Island I stand firm in my commitment that the island should be left as it is. Renovate the existing structures but please….no more development. To gut the maritime forest or mar the beaches, views and nesting sites for condos and “resort” shopping is completely absurd. This coming from a Governor who compares buying alcohol on Sunday to legalizing prostitution. Please. He stands ready to pimp our forests, beaches and wetlands to the highest bidder. That, dear Governor, is what I call legalized prostition. Enough madness. Leave Jekyll alone. We go to Jekyll for the peace, the beauty,the history and the little slice of heaven where time has, for the most part, stood still. If we wanted resort vacationing we’d go to Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach or Destin or any of the other overly-developed, overly-populated, overly-polluted “resorts”, where there is more asphalt than sand and no history left standing.
By M.Watson
April 30, 2008 7:32 PM | Link to this
Is Jeykll Island going to become the next Amelia Island Club? Much of the public areas where people use to hike and bike has fallen to gated developments. Leave a beautiful natural area alone. Eveyone can realize renovation is needed now and then to keep a place attractive and safe, but to destroy the natural environment for another playground for the rich is a poor way to repay the taxpayers of Georgia. All Linger Longer will give to the citizes of Georgia will be congestion, traffic, pollution, and the destruction of plants and animals. Work hard to stop this plan to turn Jeykll Island into another overcrowded Disney World with a golf course.
By Jane Gay
April 30, 2008 7:42 PM | Link to this
Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to save the beachfront property on Jekyll. Now we have to do the same for the maritime forests. I’ve been visiting Jekyll yearly for 45 years, since I was a child. I go there precisely for what’s NOT there - hordes of people, traffic, crowded beaches and shopping malls. By all means it may be time to renovate or rebuild the existing hotels and also the convention center. The shopping center could be rebuilt and expanded a little to include a few more shops and another restaurant or two. Certainly I hope the restoration of the historic district buildings continues. But by all means, leave the beaches and the forests alone! And for heavens sake protect the island from condos! There are literally scores of places people can go for high rise condos/hotels, shopping and Golden Arches. People go to Jekyll to avoid all of that. The island has always been a place of peace and beauty - leave it that way!!!!
By Judy Smith
April 30, 2008 7:45 PM | Link to this
My husband began going to Jekyll in the 50’s. We began taking our children there in the 70’s. They’re grown and gone now but we still go back to Jekyll. It’s our favorite place on earth. Why? Natural beauty, simple pleasure, affordable amenities. We’ve stayed in several of the beach hotels, and have a house rented for next fall. I hope we’ll always be able to go back to the real Jekyll. Yes, the older hotels need to be rebuilt. Yes, the convention center and shopping center need to be rebuilt, even expanded. Yes, a few more restaurants would be nice. Yes, the beach and the forest must be preserved so that future generations can enjoy them, as we have. Jekyll is Georgia’s natural jewel and it should stay that way.
By David Buckhout
April 30, 2008 8:06 PM | Link to this
If the plans to develop the island aren’t for the benefit of the few, why can’t we have input now? Why must we wait to see the plans without any input before they6 have already been put in place. It is just another ploy to take over the property that was meant for the average person. These people are bound and determined to have this hugh development for the rich that they think that the average person is clueless as to what is going on. Some of us aren’t. We know what they are trying to do. We are not all stupid. Just do what the majority of the people want, don’t try to sneak something in like the last plan. We really don’t need another St. Simon’s Island type development. Oh, by the way I spotted what I think was an Ivory billed woodpecker across from the South Beach Picnic area on April 30th.
By William LaFollette
April 30, 2008 8:14 PM | Link to this
We and a number of frinds from Indiana visit Jekyll Island one or more times a year. We consider the island the most attractive spot on the Atlantic Coast. The state of Georgia should take pride in Jekyll and protect it aggressively. Preserve the unique character of Jekyll Island to the greatest extent possible by upgrading existing facilities and allowing minimal new development. Do not encroach on the maritime forest.
By harold stutz
April 30, 2008 8:14 PM | Link to this
1t,s a sad day when every thing is deturmined by a few high ranking individuals greedy for more money! Jekyell Island is and has been a state park for years and is wonderful as it is, Keep it as it is! Yes the island needs some new hotels, condos from the old Buccanner site to the Holiday Inn site. Let the rest of the island alone and have your governer and his pet developers go elseware for thier retirement millions!
By david bradley
April 30, 2008 8:37 PM | Link to this
I visit Jekyll because it is a largely undeveloped island and a reminder of what used to be plentiful and so good about the south and the coast. If it is further developed, it will lose much of what is special about it.
By Pat
April 30, 2008 9:22 PM | Link to this
I was raised near Destin. It breaks my heart to see it now. Please don’t turn Jekyll Island into another concrete jungle.
By Rowan Engleman
April 30, 2008 9:31 PM | Link to this
I’m pleased to see so many folks want to preserve Jekyll in its current state — Take a 10 minute drive to St. Simons if you’d like to see what will happen to Jekyll if development is allowed to continue — Gridlocked traffic, tacky stores, strip malls. I grew up on St. Simons and am sad to say it has been ruined. Let’s not let that happen to Jekyll!
By Deneen Fowler
April 30, 2008 9:34 PM | Link to this
I grew up on St. Simons in the 1950s, and my family has continually lived on the Georgia coast since Fort Frederica was established in the 1700s. In the 50’s my uncle was influential in Jekyll becoming a state park. Now, living in North Carolina, I am horrified when I come home to visit, and see the “development”/desecration that has occurred on St. Simons, and I always feel reassured that my uncle’s vision for Jekyll has been preserved. I know that I can go to Jekyll to smell the live oaks and the marshes and the salt air, hear the diverse populations of birds speaking their truths, and feel at home.
I simply do not understand why an organization such as Linger-Longer was invited to develop Jekyll in the first place. This is a state park. It is specifically a park that was designed so that the taxpayers of the state and regular people like me from other states can vacation at the beach. Linger-Longer is a wealthy development company that builds expensive structures so that they can become wealthier. As I see it, they perceive Jekyll’s maritime forest to be an obstacle to making more money. They are trying right now to figure out how to get the state to let them “Develop a Maritime Forest.” They are apparently good at knowing how to manipulate the governing forces so that they can justify the destruction of the island’s ecosystem, and get richer in the process. Is it not both pathetic and obscene that this is being allowed, and even invited?
Jekyll’s maritime forest is home to astoundingly diverse life forms. It is pristine, and uncorrupted. The humans who share the island with the forest have managed not to harm it in all these years. The cost of the tragedy of desecrating this island is incalculable. Pandering to the whims of the vacationing wealthy, permitting a powerful and wealthy corporation to become more powerful and even wealthier at the expense of regular people must be stopped once and for all on Jekyll. This is a state park.
I suppose that the most amazing thing about all of this is that it has not happened sooner. Please wake up, Georgia, before it is too late for your exquisite, fragile and irreplacable golden island named Jekyll.
By John Capozzi
April 30, 2008 10:47 PM | Link to this
I am in favor of renovation and re-development in the existing footprint on Jekyll Island. Seems so practical and well thought out!
By Sam Davis
April 30, 2008 10:56 PM | Link to this
I first visted Jekyll Island in 1952. My father took me there. I loved it then and I love it now. It is a state park. What should a park be. I think the 4-H’er put it so anyone could understand. Please read his input above. Please do not spoil JI. Keep the Park a Park and keep it affordable! I do drive down I 95 from North Carolina once of twice a year to vist Jekyll. Stay out of the Woods and off the Beach. Redevelop what needs rebuilding and leave nature alone.
By Patricia Petelle
April 30, 2008 11:09 PM | Link to this
I have lived in Georgia most of my life, and I have visited Jekyll Island every year since I was a child. Many years ago my father owned The Wanderer, The Corsair and The Carriage Inn on the island. As children we were always told that we were just caretakers on the island, because it didn’t belong to anyone. It belonged to all the people of Georgia, and it had to be protected for them. Jekyll is a rare barier island, a state park, an historic site and a turtle nesting ground. That is enough. It does not need to be another Daytona Beach or Disney World. Yes, the old hotels need to renovated and redeveloped, but not another inch of Jekyll’s beach or forest should be developed. Leave Jekyll’s green space alone!!! “Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.”
By Andy Pearson
May 1, 2008 12:02 AM | Link to this
I’ve thought about what my plan for Jekyll would be, and realized that part of the problem is that everyone has their own vision of Jekyll based on what they like the most about it. For me, the fact that there was no traffic light was significant, as was the fact that development was limited due to its status as a State Park. This was important to me, because certain ancestors of mine owned the island before it was sold to the millionaires. My focus has always been the earlier history, because John Dubignon sold the island to the big fellows in 1886. I love the small town feel of Jekyll, but I definitely saw room for improvement. I didn’t think it a bad idea to tear down the old and build up the new in its place, but I never expected that the development plan would include radical new encroachments on protected areas and closure of beach access at the most visited beaches. I’ve been advised that one of the developers actually exclaimed, “There are turtles?” Where do we draw the line on erasing our heritage and destroying vital ecosystems in the name of the almighty dollar? This island should be spared, even if it does hurt the tax base.
May 1, 2008 12:10 AM | Link to this
Don’t be fooled that this development would help anyone other than the politicians and the developers who donate to their campaigns. All it will do is create low paying service jobs, with condos and restaurants built by people who are not likely US citizens funneling money back out of the country. You would destroy a beautiful gem of an island. Just look what your politicians did to Atlanta. Corporate greed mixed with greedy politicians created the worst example of sprawl in this country. Why not do the same to Jekyll? The ONLY reason people go to Jekyll is because it is not over developed. IF you want a crowded island littered with condos and cheap souvenir stores—then St. Simmons Island is right next door. That is what Jekyll will become if you allow this slippery slope of an idea happen to Jekyll.
By Bob D.
May 1, 2008 1:42 AM | Link to this
I appreciate the AJC putting this blog up. I hope the powers that be at the AJC send these comments to the governor and all the state representatives and senators. It has been a long time since I have seen almost 100% of writers on a subject be of the same opinion. Jekyll Island is not only a treasure for the State of Georgia, it is a national treasure. The proposed $352 million development by Linger Longer will do nothing but harm our precious island and it’s ecosystem. Governor Perdue, please read the comments and views of the people of your state. We want Jekyll left alone. Repairs to the existing facilities are fine, but please, no more encrochment on any of the undeveloped land on the island. The reasons people go there are because of the way the island is now. I have been going to Jekyll for over 50 years, and now my children and grandchildren go there. It is what it should be and should always be.
By fulldawg
May 1, 2008 5:57 AM | Link to this
Jekyll should be left alone. We the people own it.
By Lydia
May 1, 2008 8:21 AM | Link to this
The rich have St. Simon’s Island and Sea Island and soon Tybee Island. Please leave Jekyll Island alone so that people like me that make $100,000 a year or less can afford to go somewhere. Jekyll is fine the way it is. That is what I like about it. It is not over dev eloped. There are few places like that left anymore. Why does everything have to be developed? The wildlife deserve somewhere to live. We need some places that are natural.
By Gail Todd
May 1, 2008 9:22 AM | Link to this
One of Jekyll island’s most attractive aspects is the lack of development. This along with the diversity of the wild life is what draws me to the island at least twice a year. The developers need to leave the island alone!! New development is not warranted on Jekyll. It needs to be left alone!!
By Cecil & Wanza Wingo
May 1, 2008 11:18 AM | Link to this
If this proposed project goes forward we will not visit Jekyll Island again. Jekyll Island should not be developed further. The reason we have vacationed there is because of NO CROWDING and it’s so peacefull. Other vacation spots are overcrowded.
By Joan LaRusso