Page 2 of AJC Blog Comments on Jekyll's Future

May 1, 2008 11:36 AM | Link to this
My first visit to Jekyll Island was in September of 2007. I was struck by the rare beauty of the plants, hundred year-old trees, birds and butterflies viewed against the backdrop of the sea. There are few places on the east coast that share Jekyll’s natural beauty. Why not just improve the structures which already exist and preserve the main attraction (the island’s natural beauty)as is. I would definitely plan to visit Jekyll Island again in the future.
By Dr. Robert Hill
May 1, 2008 12:01 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island’s maritime forest must remain undeveloped. There are several issues here. One is ecological, the other relates to democracy and citizenship (i.e., it is political). Regarding the former, about 5% of the total US land area has wilderness protection (2% if land in Alaska is subtracted). Jekyll Island ecosystems should be protected, not developed, to help stem this shameful statistic! The Island is part of the priceless ecological heritage of which Georgians should be proud. I’d recommend that people interested in this debate read “Endangered Ecosystems” at On the latter point, it is amazing that state-owned land would be used in any way for private or personal gain. The land of Jekyll Island is the land of the people of the state of Georgia, not the land of private investors.
By Babs McDonald
May 1, 2008 12:05 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is a State Park. It is inappropriate to turn a State Park into an upscale resort complex. State Parks, like our National Parks, should be managed primarily to sustain the natural integrity of the natural resource as a place for nature-based outdoor recreation. New hotels are already being built on Jekyll’s existing development footprint. It is unthinkable that the State of Georgia would support, let alone initiate, the destruction of ANY of Jekyll’s remaining natural areas, including its unique maritime forest. The Jekyll Island Authority, despite its claim, has NOT been a model of good coastal development. Who let the recently destroyed hotels decay over the years? The blame must rest squarely with the JIA.
I oppose any further hotel/condo/timeshare/ development. Let’s see what kind of cultural and economic impact the current “redevelopment” efforts will have (i.e., Canopy Bluff and the Hampton Inn). What’s the JIA’s hurry? Is is to make money even faster at the expense of average Georgians, and before we can stop it?
The JIA has clearly been operating to fatten the developer’s pockets. They are not managing Jekyll Island in the interest or according to the wishes of the people who own Jekyll Island — the public. It’s time for Governor Perdue to examine the make-up of the JIA board. We need a JIA board that operates openly and in collaboration with the public, not in secret and at odds with public will.
We the people are clearly calling for a stop to the Linger Longer activity — NOW. Before any further modification of the island, we need a valid and indepdently-conducted Environmental Effects Report for Jekyll Island. It is incredible to think that the JIA would want to move ahead with ANY development without understanding the environmental impact of its plans. Jekyll Island is a fragile coastal island. Let’s not forget that.
In addition, the Linger Longer proposal should stop NOW while a useable conservation plan is developed for Jekyll. This plan should be indepdently developed, perhaps by university scientists. The current plan provides just a starting point for what is needed for Jekyll Island.
By developing Jekyll in the proposed Linger Longer manner, the JIA would destroy the unique character of Jekyll and “run off” the thousands of Georgians who visit Jekyll for that character — which is, by the way, a “State Park character.” If we wanted a more developed and upscale coastal experience, there are plenty of other options.
We the people of Georgia are demanding to be heard! Governor Perdue THANK YOU AJC for giving us the opportunity to speak.
Babs McDonald
By Theresa Matt
May 1, 2008 12:21 PM | Link to this
I’m not surprised that there are people like CJ’s wife; but there are plenty of places for her to go. The hotels on Jekyll could stand some renovating — OK, we know that. But I speak from experience when I say that Hilton Head and Destin can not compare with Jekyll Island for peacefulness and natural beauty of the environment. I am very familiar with HH and Destin and actually visit them with relatives; but all the time I am lamenting what they once were.
Where are WE going to go when Jekyll Island becomes a commercialized, tacky [read upscale] haven for those who prefer HH and Destin? OUR tourist dollars are going to go elsewhere, if we can find a low-key natural place like JI. Hard to do …
By BillB
May 1, 2008 12:35 PM | Link to this
The JIA needs to listen to the people of Georgia who are saying that this state park, and should not go the way of all the privately held islands. And the Governor, who appoints the members of the JIA, needs to hear the same message. Fix the convention center. Make sure declining hotel stock is maintained. But be very cautious about other projects. There is no mandate for more private residences.
By Kathy
May 1, 2008 12:51 PM | Link to this
NO CONDOS at all. Once we sell (or is it give?)development rights to developers, where can we buy another barrier island for the people of Georgia. We don’t need condos on Jekyll. Plain and simple.
By R. Lynch
May 1, 2008 1:18 PM | Link to this
Thank you to the AJC for posting this blog. My family and I are vehemently opposed to additional development of Jekyll Island. We have been going to the island for over 40 years and enjoy its pristine beauty. We go there because of what it is NOT. If we wanted resort vacationing we can go to Hilton Head, Amelia Island or any other over-developed “resort”. It is a state park and belongs to the people of Georgia. We are not opposed to renovation of existing structures but to give this beautiful piece of heaven to developers is absolutely ludicrous.
By mike
May 1, 2008 1:19 PM | Link to this
For over 50 years, countless govenors and state legislatures agreed that Jekyll Island was a state park for all the people of Georgia. With the advent of our first republican governor and legislature, Jekyll Island is suddenly up for sale to the highest bidder. I desparately want them to consider the loss of a natural barrier island to the people of this state. But I fear the fix is in. Too many backs have been scratched, too many under the table deals have been sealed. They’ve got a whole lot of rich campaign supporters to pay back after all. And, boy, do they see dollar signs on Jekyll’s beach and in its maritime forest. People have sold their souls for a whole lot less— this time they are selling our island.
By Joe
May 1, 2008 1:43 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island should be left as a rare and pristine island! Existing hotels, etc. should be kept and modernized if needed, but no new development should be allowed!!
By Grandma Mary
May 1, 2008 1:51 PM | Link to this
Did we ever get clarification on that 50% comment??
I have been visting the island for the past 40 years or so and everytime I go to jekyll, I take more family and friends, and they keep returning because there is something for everyone to do on the island. And my favorite thing to do…..sit under a tree and read. How many spots along our coasts offer that type of solitude?
I am an empty-nester and can afford to travel anywhere, but I prefer this type of vacation to recharge my batteries.
And Wild Georgia Shrimp is the best in the world! Let’s keep it that way. If the island is overdeveloped, the runoff and sediment will harm the nearshore and offshore environment, and therefore the fishing/crabbing/shrimping.
By islandhow
May 1, 2008 1:51 PM | Link to this
A good point about no more condos. Unfortunately, current plans for the replacement of Holiday Inn and Buccaneer motels include more condos. With the LLC plans, the island population could easily double or triple with the attendant assault upon the ambiance of Jekyll, not to mention the demands on the already somewhat strained infrastructure. How would traffic lights grab you?
By ken&ellen
May 1, 2008 1:56 PM | Link to this
We can’t put it any more eloquently than has been stated multiple times in the preceding comments….. Please, Governor Perdue, don’t make the destruction of Jekyll Island your legacy.
By Phyllis Miller
May 1, 2008 2:17 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island State Park should be preserved from contruction and development, cement and asphalt. Not a single tree or bush should be removed from this state park. Let the visitor’s eyes rest on natural beauty of sea and sand, fauna and fowl. Let’s keep Jekyl natural as so few places of natural beauty are available to the visitor seeking a moderately priced getaway.
By Jean
May 1, 2008 2:19 PM | Link to this
I had the pleasure of drivig along Beachview Dr.(on Jekyll Island) a while ago - and saw the full moon shining over the ocean - with only dunes and a few trees as a frame for this serene and gorgeous view. I felt like I was in God’s front yard! No one has the right to take that away from the people of Georgia or anyone else. Keep refurbishment of this little island in the old “foot prints”, enhance the natural areas with good stewardship, and be happy with sensible monetary returns. Mr. Mercer Reynolds told me he “wanted to leave a legacy for Georgians”. Fine - put that horrendously presumptuous plan somewhere in Kansas and care for Jekyll Island properly. But you will have to do it on your own Mr. Reynolds because the Jekyll Island Authority Board members - all appointed by Sonny - haven’t a clue - they only see $ signs!!! And they haven’t even been able to adopt an excellent conservation plan that was finished 2 years ago (with JIA money) and is an fine guide to all of the natural parts of the island. Instead of pretending that everyone agrees with this cabal of certain legislators, the JIA and Linger Longer Planners, I hope these people pull their heads out of the sand and pay attention to what the people of Georgia are telling them — for the good of the island - and also their own careers.
By Cindy Jones
May 1, 2008 2:24 PM | Link to this
Let’s keep Jekyll Island the way it is!! Remodel the hotels and shopping center but leave the forest alone! We live in the Atlanta area where mass destruction occurs everyday let’s keep Jekyll the beautiful island that it is. We come to Jekyll every year for the peacefulness and natural beauty, Please protect our beautiful isaland1
By Michelle
May 1, 2008 2:29 PM | Link to this
To the Reynolds family, JIA members, Gov. Perdue, and members of GA Congress: Don’t use Jekyll as your cash cow! Instead, do the RIGHT thing not the most profitable. Rebuild/renovate Jekyll’s existing hotels and shopping (within structural guidelines). Put YOUR timeshares, condos, and shopping IN these renovations and then see what happens. Yes, YOU will profit and Jekyll will serve YOU as well as the MAJORITY VOICE who want Jekyll’s existing untouched/unspoiled land to remain well after WE are all gone.
By michelle
May 1, 2008 2:44 PM | Link to this
Thank you AJC for this blog. Reading through all the comments has reinforced what I have always known in my heart. People go to Jekyll for what is “not” there. However the Jekyll Island Authority, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that they don’t need the tourist dollars of the tens of thousands of folks who vacation there now and are interested in somewhere that is undeveloped. They want to compete instead for the tourists and conventions who go to places like Destin and Hilton Head. The question is, what if it doesn’t work? Does this sound like a good business decision to anyone?
By scott cook
May 1, 2008 2:53 PM | Link to this
Leave Jekyll alone for heavens sake. There are only a few nice parts of the coast that are easily and sffordably accesible and if Linger Longer has their way it will look like St. Simons in no time at all. Linger Longer, please go linger a long time somewhere else!
By Charlie Haynes
May 1, 2008 3:06 PM | Link to this
This is not like a change that can be taken back if it doesn’t work. No click “undo” and it’s all OK again. With habitat shrinking everywhere, even the most wild, Jekyll is still a Georgia treasure. Can we, just this once, maybe as a beginning, lead a little and refuse to buy in to concrete and asphalt and short-sightedness? Surely Georgia’s natural heritage isn’t something we’ll talk about in the future, describe with nostalgia and peruse in a library or museum. Lead a little. :-) C
By Neill Herring
May 1, 2008 3:08 PM | Link to this
JIA member Ed Boshears has observed that LLC developer Jamie Reynolds, LLC project manager Jim Langford and JIA Chairman Ben Porter are all three former members of the GA Board of Natural Resources, yet all claim that they did not know that some of the LLC development proposals would require permits under the GA Shore Protection Act. LLC’s lobbyist Joe D. Tanner is the former Commissioner of Natural Resources.
It seems plain that these well-connected men didn’t feel any need to know what law might apply to “the little people,” ordinary citizens. They didn’t care that a permit might be required for their projects, because they assumed that whatever they wanted would be forthcoming because of who they are.
The fact that all of the people involved in the transactions of JIA and LLC are “insiders” in GA political life is a telling fact. The person who posted about the legislators who visited Jekyll after the state bought it and the boatloads of stolen property they brought back may be GA political apochrypha, I know I heard the same stories as a boy, but, like much of legend, they are also prophetic tales.
What is going on at Jekyll now is the same thing that went on when state officials went there to steal furniture: theft of public assets for private benefit. What is different now is that this theft is being conducted in a glare of welcome publicity, and eventually its facts will tell as Gov. Perdue’s now-high popularity ratings steadily sink beneath waves of sordid revelations.
There seems to be a stubborn reluctance on the part of many in the current administration to admit that ownership of public property is not part of the “spoils” of winning an election. Those “spoils” may very well consist of such privileges as an ability to hire the worthless sons-in-law of your supporters for as long as you can hang onto power, but they do not include a right to steal property, and that is exactly what the Jekyll Redevelopment Scandal proposes.
What amazes is how long this scandal has gone on without serious consequence to its participants. Perhaps this is part of the legacy of the present Bush Administration to the whole country: High crimes are ignored because outrage is only fashionable when it is directed against the weak. Naked emperors need feel no shame.
By Beloved Nobleman
May 1, 2008 3:35 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is a State Park, and I prefer State Parks which are not developed. As for the JIA, how did they get control of a state park? Are they not a private group? No wonder my state park pass is not recognized at the entrance to Jekyll Island. Should the proposed development go through, I’ll spend my time at another park and not Jekyll Island. State Parks should remain in the hands of the state of Georgia and not some private group. Could it be that the real problem started with the JIA?
By Christian
May 1, 2008 3:38 PM | Link to this
“in the end, only kindness matters” Dalai Lama “in the end, only money matters” America
Maybe it would save time and money of we all just realized that the development of Jekyll will be made on the basis of profit. There is no place in any of this fray for the self-deluded to think that money will not win out in the end. It is sad and maybe immoral to think this way but these plans and developers do not care about any impact, love of a natural place, preservation. They are only but obstacles on their collecting millions if not a billion or two. No romance here. Placate the opposition, pay off who needs paying off and then build what you damn well please.
Jekyll lovers everywhere, please continue fighting but the end relult will be the same.
As a former member of that island, seeing the master plan 4 years ago(without the authorities permission of course) we have been duped. This is a chess game where non of those benefitting from developmeent can be trusted and they are better at this game than we are. They have betrayed our trust. There are but a few moves to mate, the winner is determined.
Dwain Christian
By gary mroz
May 1, 2008 3:50 PM | Link to this
As a person in his mid 60’s who is sick of noise,neon lights,ghetto blasters,traffic, crime, foul mouthed youth,casinos, etc. it is with extreme pleasure my wife and I spend two months in beautiful JI each winter. The business section of JI is fine. It takes me back to my youth.
Where else could we find the safety of biking each morning, then a round of golf, walk the beach, play tennis, dine at the JIC or Crane Cottage. The nine hole Dunes course reminds me of some of the original links courses in Scotland. It has taken me many rounds to learn how to play it with success. The alligators,deer, birdlife, turtles are a fabulous extra. This island is set up perfectly for seniors such as us who have little interest in the ACTION of big cities. Leave it alone.
Remember the words of Joni Mitcell: “They paved paradise and made it a parking lot.”
Sincerely, Gary Mroz Ottawa
By mjd
May 1, 2008 3:58 PM | Link to this
After visiting Jekyll every chance we could for 20+ years, my husband and I decided to take the plunge and buy a house on the island. Our hopes are, that one day, we will be able to spend more than a week at a time there, but for now it is a rental. It is “vintage Jekyll”— a 1200 sq foot brick ranch, built in 1964. At the time we bought it, nothing had been changed since 1964. We did not enlarge the foot print, we did not encroach on the dunes, we did not expand into the maritime forest. We fixed it up—-tore old stuff out and put new stuff in. Since the work was completed, it has been rented by visitors for 50 of the first 52 weeks. It is upscale and elegant? Dear lord, no. Does it have a view of the ocean? Not even close. It is clean, cute and quiet.
There is a tremendous demand on the island for accomodations that are well kept, modern and affordable. Jekyll’s natural beauty will do the rest. Renovating the existing hotels needs to be the priority—not building more of them.
If you fix it up, they will come. I know first hand.
By Vicki Metcalfe
May 1, 2008 3:59 PM | Link to this
On our first visit to Jekyll Island for February and March 2007, it took less than two weeks to start referring to our stay as “the first annual”. The second visit this year had us contemplating spending ever more time on the island and perhaps buying a property. This is not going to happen if the island becomes like Florida or St. Simon’s. We are Canadian and we can’t vote in Georgia. We can, though, vote with our dollars.
What is precious about Jekyll has been well covered in other notes on this site. First, it’s a valuable and increasingly threatened physical ecosystem. There’s so little left to preserve and conserve on this continent – overdevelopment has led to droughts and fires in Florida and California and the delicate nature of the Georgia barrier islands is well documented. (As Canadians we are free to travel to Cuba and it’s heart-breaking to see the wetlands and other natural areas destroyed in the name of tourist dollars there as well. Cuba as least has the excuse of desperate economics.)
Second, there’s the valuable and increasingly threatened social system. The facts that Jekyll Island is a state park and that it welcomes campers and those with modest incomes constitute a large part of its charm. Forget the glitz – you can get real on Jekyll. We’re concerned with the trend to glamorous development, and particularly gated communities, that can do nothing but increase the class distinctions that we as outsiders see in the U.S.
Vicki Metcalfe and Dennis Orchard Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
By Andrew Yorke
May 1, 2008 4:02 PM | Link to this
Are the greedy developers going to prevail? I truly hope not. Jekyll Island is beautiful the way it is and they aren’t making any more relatively unspoiled barrier islands. I would suggest that anyone interested in this issue look at what was done to Atlantic Beach off the coast of Morehead City, NC during the past several decades. I was a youth there and the beach was idyllic. Now it is just another development. The last thing the southern coastline needs is another unbroken line of expensive condos. Unfortunately it is already too late for most the Northeast. I have the strong impression that Southerners are proud of their heritage. Here is an opportunity to preserve it for future generations. Once the developers have taken their profits and gone the owners of the new beachfront structures will undoubtedly demand that the Federal and State governments protect their beachfront homes from the Atlantic Ocean - at taxpayer expense. The futility of such efforts has been demonstrated on too many occasions to mention. I strongly urge everyone with a legitimate say in the matter contact their legislators and help prevent this tragic development.
By Golden Bruce
May 1, 2008 4:12 PM | Link to this
It seems to me that nearly everyone contributing to this forum has the same basic attitude, and I agree with them. This development plan is just one more bad idea from the same bunch of real estate bandits that have already presented bad ideas and had them rejected. The persistence of these people, and the support they enjoy from the JIA and the Georgia State Government is telling. If they aren’t allowed to pave one part of the island, they’ll just move on to another, then another, until they’ve worn down all resistance. The elected and appointed officials repeatedly refuse to represent their constituents, instead backing those who can more directly enrich them. Writing your opinions here may make you feel better, but as long as your Governor, your legislators, and the JIA are only interested in a quick buck, it’s only a matter of time until Jekyll is reduced to another McResort with a lot of empty condos, and the crooks(governmental and otherwise) have pocketed their ill-gotten gains and disappeared. The only real solution is to keep fighting, and to vote out every elected official who fails to represent you—-even if only to replace him with another. Maybe a petition to remove the Governor, or a class-action lawsuit against the JIA, or similar tactics would help.
By Sandra
May 1, 2008 5:36 PM | Link to this
Saving the last open area along Jekyll Island State Park’s shoreline and protecting everything between this area and the Historic district will be very difficult. Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) Chairman Porter and Linger Longer Communities want this area for their beach village. These are people who are use to getting what they want. They claim this is exactly what Jekyll Island needs for its Revitalization. Unfortunately, they are backed in this belief by Republican Governor Perdue, Republican Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Republican House Majority Leader Jerry Keen, Republican Senator Eric Johnson, President Pro Tempore, to name a few. Is it any wonder Republican Senator Jeff Chapman was unable to get support for any bills to protect Jekyll Island? He apparently stands alone in his own party and there aren’t enough Democrats to help him. Supporting development of more hotels and condos on the State Park’s last open area near or on the beach is irresponsible. They should be concerned with what is happening with the 10 hotels already there. Many beachside hotels do need renovations or replacement. That’s happening! Revitalization and investment have begun on Jekyll Island. At the April 14, 2008 Jekyll Island Authority board meeting Chairman Porter was asked if they would consider a referendum so the people of Georgia can vote on this issue? Chairman Porter (appointed by Gov. Perdue) made it very clear that there will be no referendum. The people will not be given the chance to vote on the future of Jekyll Island. The future of Jekyll Island is in the hands of some very powerful people. We, the people who own Jekyll Island can still be heard. Everyone’s voice is important before it’s too late. Start by contacting the high ranking Republicans listed and then contact all candidates for the legislature in your district. Do whatever you can. (Visit to determine how to contact your legislators.) Tell them to: 1. stop all thoughts of development on this last undeveloped area near or on your State Park‘s beach. Protect this entire area for future generations. 2. have the J.I.A. concern themselves with the revitalization taking place on Jekyll Island and return to their plans for the renovations or replacement of the convention center and shopping center in the same areas they are now located. If they don’t speak out for you remember them when you can vote.
By Stan Levy
May 1, 2008 5:45 PM | Link to this
What more do we have to do to make the JIA realize that if their redevelopment plan goes forward many of us visitors from away will Linger No Longer?!
By Pat & Judy Caveney
May 1, 2008 6:04 PM | Link to this
We have been enjoying the wonders of Jekyll Island for the past nine years. The low key undeveloped nature of Jekyll is a wonderful place to escape the cold of the north for a few weeks every year. The golf courses, natural areas, bike trails, beaches and lack of commercial development is what attracted us to Jekyll in the first place. Additonal development on Jekyll Island along with the crowding and higher prices that would accompany it would necessitate our looking for a different place to spend our time and money. The only thing that Jekyll Island needs is to enhance the facilities that are already there. Replacement of the motels that have been torn down with more modern facilities, better care of the existing golf courses, upgrading of the convention center along with proper maintenace of the existing infrastructure is all that is needed. Please do not turn Jekyll Island into an over developed commercial attraction. If people want that, let them go to Disney World.
By charliebob
May 1, 2008 6:26 PM | Link to this
I expected that this blog would reveal virtually unanimous and very fierce opposition to a development scheme that is clearly bad. But it’s still deeply gratifying to see. When I first heard about the development plan I felt sad, angry, frustrated, helpless and alone. Now, thanks in no small part to Dave and Mindy Egan and the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island [], and the powerful grassroots support they’ve helped generate, I now see I belong to a huge and growing base of folks who love Jekyll as the lovely, tranquil, unpretentious, affordable sanctuary for people and wildlife it has been, and should always be. So I now see I am not alone and, while I am still angry, I do have confidence that by our vast and growing numbers we are not helpless. We owe special thanks to Senator Jeff Chapman and Rep. Debbie Buckner, Dan Chapman and the Atlanta Journal, Ed Boshears of the JIA, and many others who’ve had the integrity to stand tall in order to defend Georgia’s Jewel. It is OUR island my friends, tell everyone you can we need to save it. And let your reps know what you want. If our reps do not listen then we must vote for reps who do. Election time IS near. I’m concerned that there are those in positions of power who think it is okay to ignore us, denigrate us, and take from us that which is ours to serve interests of their own. So remind them this is not how it works in a democracy. As far as I know we taxpaying voters still matter.
By Teresa Pacheco
May 1, 2008 7:15 PM | Link to this
I just wanted to thank Senator Jeff Chapman R-Brunswick and Representative Debbie Buckner D-Junction City for their valiant efforts to protect Jekyll Island. It is so exhausting seeing the constant exploitation of the natural environment taking place all around us. We thought Jekyll’s “protected” status meant that our state government would truly look beyond any potential short-term gain and help to preserve this beautiful, unique resource for future generations. Of course, we are well beyond the native American ideal of “no person can own the land” but we it is our responsibility to attempt to share the land and keep it free and welcoming to all. That should be our legacy.
By Bob D.
May 1, 2008 7:26 PM | Link to this
“At the April 14, 2008 Jekyll Island Authority board meeting Chairman Porter was asked if they would consider a referendum so the people of Georgia can vote on this issue? Chairman Porter (appointed by Gov. Perdue) made it very clear that there will be no referendum. The people will not be given the chance to vote on the future of Jekyll Island” [quote from Sandra in previous post - 05/01 at 5:36 pm]
I have a question. Can Ben Porter tell us that there will not be a referendum on the proposed Linger Longer project and the future of Jekyll Island? I thought he was only a political appointee to the JIA. Before this terrible project starts, what do we (the people of the State of Georgia) have to do to get a referendum on Jekyll and it’s future? Governor Perdue, you should do the right thing for the citizens of Georgia. Reverse your position on what you want to happen to Jekyll Island. I have always voted and supported (with few exceptions) the republican candidates in our state, county and local elections (including monetary contributions - although not as much as Reynolds and Linger Longer), but I can promise you that in the next election my votes will go to the candidates that want to perserve Jekyll Island the way it is now, regardless of party. This issue is one of the most important issues the people of Georgia have faced. I hope others agree with me and will do what needs to be done at the ballot box plus whatever other steps can be taken to stop this madness in regard to “our island.”
By John Bacon
May 1, 2008 8:39 PM | Link to this
The beauty and quietude that makes Jekyll Island so special does not need to be sacrificed to make substantial improvements to the hotels and convention center. The existing footprint of the razed and deteriorated hotels provide enough acreage to make vast upgrades that would help the tourist trade and improve revenue. Replace the convention center making it larger and nicer could be done with minimal increase in size. Leave the maritime forest and beach front parking and dunes alone.
By Marilyn
May 1, 2008 9:10 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is a unique natural resource on the Eastern coast of the United States. Fortunately it is held in the public domain. As such, the elected representatives of the state have the responsibility and obligation to minimize degradation of this irreplaceable environment. I do not see that happening today!
By Sandy Feet
May 1, 2008 9:36 PM | Link to this
The Merriam-Webster definition of “redevelop” is: : the act or process of redeveloping; especially : renovation of a blighted area
No one in their right mind could call either the Jekyll Island beaches or the lush maritime forest a “blighted area”.
What is happening on Jekyll Island is not redevelopment, but new development. Redevelopment would be to update and improve existing buildings in their current footprint. That’s not what Linger Longer and the JIA are proposing in their “redevelopment” plans. Let’s not cause any further damage to Georgia’s Jewel by building new roads and buildings.
By Summer Solstice
May 1, 2008 9:59 PM | Link to this
Let people go to Hilton Head or St. Simons if they want fancy accommodations, exclusive night life, and expensive shopping. Jekyll is one of the few remaining undeveloped areas on the Eastern Coast and should remain that way. We must preserve what we have now for future generations.
By Barbara Driggers
May 1, 2008 10:09 PM | Link to this
Gov Sonny Perdue( is that first name Sonny or Stupid). It is hard to tell nowadays. But you probably don’t have the education to read this blog anyway. You pay someone else to read it, like you pay all of your other “hinchmen” to do your dirty work. Well guess what, you and all your “Buds” have lost all your votes from at least the “Average” people of Georgia, you see we don’t get “bought”off. If you had tried to pull this stunt 50 or 60 years ago, maybe even less there would have been “hinchmen” of a different sort.
Why don’t you wake up and call off the dogs, JIA needs cleaned out, fired, just plain wiped away. Then let the Public deal with LLC at a Public meeting, if they dare. We need a complete re-vamp of the Atlanta Government, not of Jekyll. Unless it is just fresh paint a few rotten boards replaced. These are things that even the Public would be willing to do. You buy the material and you get free labor. But wait a minute, that wouldn’t put enough of the “Almighty Green” in your pocket, now would it. I am totally ashamed, as I have said before of the JIA, how can you face anyone on the Island. Eric Garvey used to be a good man. He sold his soul to the devil, right along with the rest. There are other jobs out there. The “Ole Gov.” must have made that “kick-back” a lot higher than what we all thought. And Linger Longer, I hope when your condo’s or hotels get built, if they do, that they fill up with Rats, before you rent a room. Oh wait!, they will already be filled with rats cause all you good old boys will be there. Can I get o your list of getting “freebies” please, please. I will bring a few guest with me, if that is alright. But you will like them, they will fit right in with you. Oh! I forgot to tell you their names. Mr and Mrs. Cockroach. They can run free all over your floors, since they don’t have any maritime forest or parks or beaches to run on. Maybe they can bring their friends along. I know you all think this is stupid and silly and doesn’t seem very business like, but it just goes to show you how much I detest you and your developers and your stupid plans. Actually there are not words that I can print here on the blog. I wish that I could be in a room with all you trouble makers for one hour, this 73 old woman, would turn you everywhere but loose.You make me so sick, I could barf. I know Judo and Karate” and they are both great guys.
By mary k eargle
May 1, 2008 10:45 PM | Link to this
We have been visiting Jekyll Island for 25 years or better. There is no beach on the Atlantic Coast to equal her. It would be a crying shame if greedy real estate developers are allowed to destroy the beautiful pristine environment. We need to do everything possible to save her and not destroy it by new development. My sincere thanks and prayers go to everyone helping to save Jekyll Island.
By Frédérique McGirt
May 1, 2008 10:47 PM | Link to this
Two years ago my family took a trip to Jekyll Island and my children discovered bird watching and banding with a group of scientist. Because of the marsh, we realized that Jekyll Island is a great stop for migrating birds around October. How development will affect migration patterns of these birds? In 2008, Humans have the global Responsibility to preserve mother Earth and its biodiversity. Can we look at reduced Bio-creative habitat on this highland as some architects have done in certain parts of the world? I am an American since 3 years now and I really think my country is beautiful. Also a French citizen, I realized that what made tourists, painters, photographs come to my country is preservation of beautiful landscapes. Some islands like “ile d’Aix” have banned cars and refused the construction of a bridge for preservation purposes. Maybe a little bit extreme for an American perspective, I agree. I sincerely hope that creative solutions will emerge to preserve the island.
By bill c
May 1, 2008 11:00 PM | Link to this
I have been coming to Jekyll for almost 50 years and what brings me back is the fact that I can come to an unspoiled, traffic-less place to relax and enjoy the ocean, beautiful trees, etc. Every time I come it is like coming home to a familiar unspoiled place where time has stood still.(sort of like many of you who come home from a hard days work to a place you know and love and feel comfortable in). I have many friends who have come to Jekyll over the years and they all rave about the beauty of the island and its serenity. I am sick and tired of seeing numerous aricles stating how run down and tacky everything is…like nothing has been done to improve it in years. The island has always been clean and many improvements made throughout the years. Bike paths, top notch soccer fields, new tennis courts, an updated marina, boat launching ramp, improvements in restroom facilities throughout, many updates to the Jekyll Club Hotel, etc.,etc.
So this whole thing about the run down condition is a sham, fostered by the Governor and his cronies with their eyes on money and profit. It is obvious that the Gov. controls his party boys who constantly try to over power Sen. Chapman and his attempts to save the island from a hatchet job by Linger Longer.
We do not need condos and high end hotels and shops to attract people to Jekyll. We need to let it alone so that all of the people of Ga. and around the world can enjoy one of the last unspoiled pieces of coastal property still in existence.
And last by not least…thank you Sen. Chapman and the Egans for your untiring efforts to keep Jekyll the way people would like to have their grandkids enjoy it. So, let’s keep on keeping on socking it to the money hungry politicians and big business execs who see nothing but a cash cow.
By Donnio
May 2, 2008 3:30 AM | Link to this
Same old story: people discover beautiful place, they build there, then so many come that they destroy what drew them in the first place. Or its the golden goose story, in this case the developers are looking for a quick return on their investment, and it may kill the goose. Remember the developers are “renters” for they don’t even own the land, and will be leaving someday. The footprint left behind may have destroyed many unique features.
Our goose may need a few new feathers, but lets be careful that we don’t lose it. Whether it is the beach or the maritime forest, they could be gone forever.
By Chris Moncus
May 2, 2008 4:07 AM | Link to this
As a resident of Glynn County (Jekyll’s county), I frequent Jekyll because it’s beautiful. Condo’s aren’t. Huge hotels aren’t. If you want to put hotels in a beautiful place but have to tear down the beauty to build it, does that half make sense?
When it all comes down to it, the struggle is between the partakers in Jekyll wanting it to remain beautiful and the greedy wanting to exploit it.
Amazing how many wars are fought over dirt.
By Alan Covich
May 2, 2008 6:41 AM | Link to this
Every state park in Georgia is different in terms of its capacity to serve visitors. Islands are especially vulnerable to over-use given their unique ecological resources. Planning for any remodeling of existing facilities needs to focus on the current “footprint” that development has already made on the ecosystem. I strongly favor a much more careful consideration of the present facilities’s footprint to make the recreational uses more sustainable rather than enlarging the development as now proposed.
By Jeff Clark
May 2, 2008 7:10 AM | Link to this
Jekyll Island might just be the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, but new construction and tons of people there will ruin it. Period. Please keep fighting, folks.
By Lauren
May 2, 2008 7:48 AM | Link to this
And yet again, some money hungry developer wants to turn part of Georgia into another mini-Atlanta (overdeveloped).
I have been going to Jekyll off and on for years. I saw the island for the first time at 10, and its raw, natural, UNDEVELOPED beauty brings me back every time. It is perfect just the way it is - Linger Longer can only ruin a good thing.
If you want developed, see what has happened to Saint Simon’s and ask yourself if that’s okay for Jekyll. I don’t think so.
Leaving Jekyll as is is the right thing to do even if it means no money in the pockets of Linger Longer (imagine that - money isn’t everything).
May 2, 2008 7:59 AM | Link to this
Four generations of my family have vacationed on Jekyll for over 30 years. We have spent our time and vacation dollars there because we have not found any other place which revitalizes and relaxes us as much as does Jekyll. We are not citizens of Georgia but because Jekyll Island is so unique it has an appeal to people from all over the world.
The ‘revitalization’ of Jekyll , as proposed by the JIA will forever destroy what is best about the Island. It should not be allowed to happen simply because it is wrong on a great many levels. It should not be done just for economic reasons when a much more sensible approach is already in the works and will bring about the required update to the Island. I am speaking about the new hotels and other much more modest improvements.
The LLC plan will benefit the few at the expense of average people who just want to enjoy the simple pleasures that are offered on Jekyll. It should be stopped completely, not just revised, until common sense is allowed to be part of the equation
By Lore Ruttan
May 2, 2008 9:33 AM | Link to this
I am a yearly vacationer to Jekyll Island as well as a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Studies at Emory University. The proposals for the redevelopment of Jekyll Island are deeply disturbing to me at both a personal and professional level. While it is tremendously exciting to hear that beachfront access will be preserved for the benefit of all Georgians, I have been every bit as concerned about the impacts on the maritime forest and the commercialization of the Island. The maritime forests of Jekyll are relicts of once more extensive forests. As such, they have enormous ecological and aesthetic value. Many species of rare and threatened migratory birds make use of the forests, as well as a wide variety of resident species of birds and other animals. As a migrant to the state myself, I have really grown to love these beautiful and unusual plant communities. At a personal level, I will be very saddened to see the quiet and non-commercial character of Jekyll destroyed. I have always loved that the only shopping opportunities are one tiny little grocery store and a bookstore – you couldn’t get more perfect in my opinion. In addition, some people may not realize that redevelopment is already taking place apart from the Linger Longer site. I am told that a stand of live oaks has already been removed to make way for a pool at the old Buccaneer resort site. However, what would like to emphasize is that every proposed plan for a town center directly contradicts the mandate for Georgia State Parks that is “To protect our state’s natural beauty and historic integrity while providing opportunities for public enjoyment and education”. Just in case you were wondering how exactly enjoyment is defined, other statements from the same State Park website clarify the issue. “Maintaining a healthy ecosystem is an overriding goal of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and a guiding principle of the State Parks and Historic Sites Division. A healthy ecosystem contains a variety of plants and animals naturally found in its region. All of these exist in the dynamic balance sometimes referred to as the “web of life”.” ( Jekyll Island is a State Park and as such, must abide by the mandates set for every other State Park. Any proposed redevelopment should be restricted to the existing footprint of development and commercial opportunities should be off-limits entirely.
By Rebecca
May 2, 2008 9:36 AM | Link to this
Please, preserve Jekyll Island! Renovate the existing structures, but don’t develop on the natural land that is left. Protecting the barrier islands is more important than building new hotels!
By Barbara
May 2, 2008 10:40 AM | Link to this
My father was one of the people that saw a vision on Jekyll. He was an owner to 3 motels. I can remember then how the commissioners were so adamant about the care of the island. They wanted everything to remain natural. I probably saw more wildlife on that small island than anywhere I have ever visited-all in their natural habitats. I have taught school for 30 years. Jekyll and its vast history is unlike any other island. My students are amazed at the millionaire homes and the wildlife. Jekyll has so many things that nowhere else does. There are plenty of commercialized islands- but only one with millionaire homes, deer,bycycles built for 4,even places where you can see no houses. Imagine that. All of this will be lost if you allow big development to swarm the island,and it will swarm if the door is opened just a crack. We grew up watching it happen. I want my children to see what I got to see. That is only possible on Jekyll. Once lost, this will never be regained.
By Elanor Stevens
May 2, 2008 10:53 AM | Link to this
My mom and I just vacationed at Jekyll over this past spring break and have enjoyed many island vactions for the last 15 years. I wouldn’t want to change a thing! We love what is already there and would support efforts to maintain and rejuvenate the current attractions on the island, but we dearly hope that no undeveloped land will be touched. We continue to give the Island out business every year, even though we travel several hundred miles to do it. I have also convinced many friends to spend time there; part of the appeal for them is that such a large percentage of the island is undeveloped. We would be very sad to return one year and find out that Jekyll had replaced its natural treasures. The only kind of new buildings that should go up are the ones that increase awareness of and help people appreciate the biological wonders of the Island, like the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (which we loved visiting, by the way). Just as my mom has taken me to enjoy the natural beauty of the Island, I hope that I will be able to take my future children.
By John Buckner
May 2, 2008 11:09 AM | Link to this
I do not want to see any NEW development on Jekyll Island. The current facilities should be modernized as to provide clean rooms and acceptable amenities for “average Georgians,” as stipulated in the state park’s founding legislation.
When your toilet breaks, you don’t build a new house, you call the plumber, the same is true for the island. Let’s fix what is there before destroying any more land with structures not needed or wanted.
By Ellen Crisci
May 2, 2008 11:12 AM | Link to this
I found this on Wikipedia, it’s a good read. I’ve added my own commentary. Ecotourism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Ecotourism, also known as ecological tourism, is a form of tourism that appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals (us little people that want to keep Jekyll they way it is). Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on volunteering, personal growth, and learning new ways to live on the planet; (Co-existence with sea turtles) typically involving travel to destinations where flora, fauna, (Maritime Forest and Beach) and cultural heritage (Historic Millionaires Village) are the primary attractions. Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is in the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation (how the hell are we going to support any more people on the island? enviromental impact study not done), and creation of economic opportunities for the local communities.(Yeah Strip Mall, I love shopping there.) For many countries, ecotourism is not simply a marginal activity to finance protection of the environment but as a major industry of the national economy. For example, in places such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nepal, Kenya, Madagascar, and Antarctica, (And Jekyll Island, Georgia) ecotourism represents a significant portion of the gross domestic product and economic activity. The concept of ecotourism is widely misunderstood, and in practice is often used as a marketing tool to promote tourism that is related to nature. Critics claim that ecotourism as practiced and abuse often consists of placing a hotel in a splendid landscape(LLC), to the detriment of the ecosystem(Jekyll Island). According to them, ecotourism must above all sensitize people with the beauty and the fragility of nature. They condemn some operators as greenwashing their operations; using the label of “green-friendly” (the Nature Center LLC is proposing) while behaving in environmentally irresponsible ways. (For an example see LLC, Jim Langford, JIA and Gov. Perdue) It seems we all come and come back to Jekyll Island for the same reason, it’s natural beauty, peace and quiet or Ecotourism. Many of us have come annually for decades. Those dollars alone should be worth something. I’ll repeat it again, leave Jekyll Island alone, no new development.
By Sandra
May 2, 2008 11:37 AM | Link to this
On May 1, 2008 (5:36 PM) I posted that at the April 14, 2008 Jekyll Island Authority Board meeting Chairman Porter was asked if they would consider a referendum so the people of Georgia can vote on this issue. Bob D. (posted May 1, 2008 at 7:26 PM) asked if J.I.A. Chairman Ben Porter can tell us that there will not be a referendum on the proposed LL project and the future of Jekyll Island? He thought that Chairman Porter is only a political appointee. Chairman Porter is appointed to the JIA board by Governor Perdue. I don’t think he has any authority whatsoever to make a decision regarding this issue. I do, however, think Governor Perdue is very happy having Chairman Porter stopping suggestions like that from going anywhere. Chairman Porter never even suggested that the possibility of a referendum would have to be discussed with the rest of the JIA board and then be proposed to the Governor. This has become a very divisive issue created mostly by our elected Republicans. Aside from Senator Jeff Chapman there isn’t another Republican who is willing to be heard on the side of the people of Georgia. They’re like puppets being controlled by Governor Perdue, Lt Governor Casey Cagle, House Majority leader Jerry Keen and Senator Eric Johnson, President Pro Tempore (and maybe we should add Linger Longer). These elected officials are certainly not working in the best interests of Jekyll Island and the people they represent. If anyone out there knows of a way for us to get a referendum on the proposed LL project and the future of Jekyll Island….please let us know.
By aaron
May 2, 2008 11:43 AM | Link to this
The only revitalization Jekyll Island needs is to demolish the rotting hotels that pollute the natural scenic beauty. If any more condos are built, I would welcome a hurricane.
By Robert Henning
May 2, 2008 12:19 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is one of the most beautiful places in this country and shouldn’t be thought of as a place to make a quick buck. It is a national treasure and should be valued as such. Please, please, please consider the impact to the island itself before developing any more of the island. Saving the forest and protecting the dune system is vital to the future of the island. Damage to this ecosystem could do irreversible harm to the natural habitat and historical significance of Jekyll.
I will personally do everything I can to help protect the island including donating money. I currently live in Wyoming and am enjoying a nice May 2nd snowstorm today. Jekyll Island warms my heart every time I think about it. It is a blessing to all of us.
By Jessica Prescott
May 2, 2008 1:48 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island always represented something wondrous and amazing to me. When I was little, my family would go visit and I marveled at the forest which was so different from our home in Marietta, GA. A week-long field trip down to Jekyll Island’s park really inspired my love of Biology and my interest in Ecology. I am now a student at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC studying to be a high school Biology teacher. The park needs to continue to have large enough amounts of land for students to visit and learn about the unique ecosystem that is a marsh and a maritime forest.
Development poses problems to its own future. Destroying the natural buffers of the island, the marsh and forest, causes the land behind it to be at higher risk for damage from storms and creates a higher rate of beach erosion. This leads to a need to pay for projects to protect the buildings or else let them fall to natural processes.
Redeveloping and remodeling can help to revitalize the community’s economy without causing larger problems. Improving the park facilities would bring more visitors and make the educational process better, both for young students and interested adults or families visiting. The undeveloped land needs to be protected in order to protect the health of the entire island.
By Nancy Grove
May 2, 2008 2:27 PM | Link to this
Leave Jekyll as it is. If you want to see over development of once beautiful land, come to my home state of Florida. You are hard pressed to find the natural beauty of Jekyll in Florida, which is why I come to visit from Tampa.
May 2, 2008 2:41 PM | Link to this
I predicted this would happen when it was announced the G-8 conference was to be held on the Georgia Coast. I am sorry that I was right in my prediction. When others were celebrating and scrambling to be a part of G-8, I was crying because this was my fear.
NO is only a two letter word. What part of NO can Sonny Perdue, JIA and Linger Longer supporters not comprehend? It seems JIA, Linger Longer supporters and Sonny Perdue are ignoring the wishes of the people of the state of GA. Isn’t it amazing that Gov Perdue never said a word about his plans for Jekyll Island until after he was re-elected? Could it be he was afraid that he wouldn’t be re-elected if he had revealed his plan before the election? Since Gov Perdue and his hand picked vultures choose to ignore the people of GA as well as the results of the surveys on the Jekyll Island revitalization from the average Georgian, as well as others from out of state, why not place it on a ballot and allow us to vote on it? Gov Perdue sat on his plans until after his re-election, why not sit on Linger Longer’s plans until the revitalization can be voted on during the next election? Thank you Rep. Debbie Buckner and Sen. Jeff Chapman for all your hard work and for caring about the wishes of the average citizen.
No one says it better than Barbara Driggers in her post on April 28, 2008 7:45 PM.
By Julia Jennings Smith
May 2, 2008 2:47 PM | Link to this
I would be foolish to say the island should never change. That said, the beauty of visiting Jekyll over the last 20 years is the very fact that it has changed so very little. The store owners, who are such an important part of the community, are the same — they will be forced out if the LLC plans go through. The joke of “oh, a traffic jam’ when one car makes you wait to pull into the road will be a thing of the past.
What needs to be done is change in the style, class and eco-friendly approach as the wonderful turtle center.
Be gentle with this island people — it is the Georgia Gem that will keep us coming back from California.
By Jane
May 2, 2008 2:57 PM | Link to this
Once it’s developed, it’s almost impossible go back to wilderness.
By Mark Dobbs
May 2, 2008 3:44 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is a place of quiet, of natural beauty that doesn’t require the year-long waiting list a Cumberland Island visit does. My wife and I were married on the North beach in 2002 under the live oaks.
We are horrified at the efforts to turn Jekyll into another stinking Hilton Head. The island belongs to Georgia, not to politicians and developers greedy for income and flashy development.
There are plenty of other overpriced condos and hotels on America’s coastlines. There are enough beaches bulldozed and buried under concrete and bricks. The landscaping is a poor substitute for the island ecology that used to be there. Jekyll Island is a refuge from all that, affordable, and should stay that way.
By all means, renovate or replace the shopping strip. The older properties need replacement or rework. However, massive, EXPENSIVE developments will forever destroy the part of Jekyll that makes us love it. That is NOT the answer.
The JIA are a group of fools, trying to screw up the very aspect of the island that brings visitors. Their refusal to hear the public, or to acknowledge our concerns proves them to be poor agents for the state citizenry. You have to ask why they’re so determined to ramrod this plan over public opposition…
By Steve Banks - Brunswick GA
May 2, 2008 3:49 PM | Link to this
I started coming to Jekyll when I was a child and one of the things that I love about it is that it still looks pretty much the same as it did 35-40 years ago. I now live here and I have the opportunity to share that experience with my children. Jekyll is unspoiled and thats what people love about it. For people that have to have shopping and starbucks, go over to St. Simons. All Jekyll needs is for the existing hotel area to be fixed up. There is no need to completely develop the island for that. The public officials in Georgia should follow Jeff Chapman’s lead and protect Georgia’s public interests rather than the interests of rich out-of-staters coming here to get richer.
By Just say NO!
May 2, 2008 4:11 PM | Link to this
Leave Jekyll as it is. If you want to see over development of once beautiful landscape, go to Florida! You are hard pressed to find the natural beauty of Jekyll on the East Coast. Sure, fix the existing hotels, and little shopping center. Just say NO to Condo’s and concrete on the beach or in the Maritime forest.
By Melissa Johnson
May 2, 2008 4:20 PM | Link to this
Developers have been eying Jekyll for such a long time. It’s disappointing but hardly surprising that the Governor and the JIA can’t seem to understand what truly makes Jekyll unique. What has been allowed to happen so far is an incredible betrayal of public trust, particularly by the JIA and specifically Ben Porter and Steve Croy.
There are so many questions that should be answered: If the JIA and LLC are so concerned with making this an environmental standard of development, why couldn’t they be bothered to do any environmental studies before the plan was announced? Why did the JIA choose to cherry pick statistics and numbers? Why was the original acreage discarded? How much money does the JIA need to successfully fund the island (not how much do they want)? How much does LLC project they will make from this development deal? Why did the JIA completely disregard their own 2006 guest survey telling them that people come to Jekyll specifically due to its lack of huge development? Why is the JIA ignoring the intent of the law creating the public park, that it be for the “average” or “ordinary” citizen?
A more prudent and careful approach to revitalizing the island would have avoided much of the controversy. Everything- from the arrogance of the JIA to the misleading visitation numbers claimed by Jim Langford has seeded complete mistrust of the process in the minds of the public.
The island should be in the care of people who truly care about it, not career developers such as Porter.
By Wes Lawson
May 2, 2008 5:49 PM | Link to this
Does the resort aspect of Jekyll island need to be updated? Absolutely. No natural areas of the island need to be bulldozed however. There is plenty of developed land on Jekyll island that could easily be renovated or redeveloped. There is even some developed land that should be turned back into natural areas. If that was done Jekyll island could remain very nature oriented but be much more enjoyable for everyone.
Theres another aspect of these proposed developments that should alarm everyone. The proposed condos and hotels will turn Jekyll into an super rich elitist hide-a-way much like St. Simons, Sea Island, and many of the other coastal islands. Currently Jekyll is relatively affordable for middle class families and new developments should maintain that aspect of Jekyll. We cannot let the elitists take away another beautiful area as the corporations they control turn the land they have left to average folks into dump sites and industrial zones.
By turtleadvocate
May 2, 2008 5:56 PM | Link to this
Lore Ruttan of Emory University posted above a well thought-out piece about Georgia State Parks and the supposed invulnerability of the parks to theft by real-estate agents (2 May, 9:33 AM). Dr. Ruttan cites the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as the park-protective agency. The job of the DNR as the State’s protector of natural resources has been undermined by the current State administration. There were hearings held in Jekyll Island State Park for consideration of the Park’s draft Conservation Plan (now shoved down into legal limbo by the Park Authority). DNR personnel were allowed to attend the hearing, but they were informed that they must sit quietly unless specific questions were put to specific DNR persons. Atlanta DNR operatives, who were not truly needed at the hearing, attended, and could oversee the actions of local DNR personnel. Non-DNR persons in attendance were not informed of the stay-silent admonishment, so when questions arose that could have been answered by the attendant local DNR experts, there was silence. The reason for the silence was not revealed until after the hearing. This is the kind of interference with proper operation of government agencies that our corrupt State administration executes. We cannot depend upon DNR to help us, because the State administrators have the DNR folks’ hands in handcuffs and their mouths gagged.
By Dory
May 6, 2008 6:16 PM | Link to this
Thank you, AJC, for reopening this blog! Over the past two legislative sessions, the Governor and the Lt. Governor, members of legislative committees, and key legislators have received bound copies of literally thousands of comments submitted by visitors to Jekyll Island, as well as scores of phone calls, emails, and letters in support of the protection of Jekyll Island State Park and opposed to the proposed revitalization plan. Throughout the year, members of the Jekyll Island Authority, Linger Longer, Trammell Crow officials, and Jekyll Island Legislative Oversight Committee have received bound copies of citizen comments at Board Meetings, public hearings, anytime that public input is mentioned or solicited. As one who has helped to distribute these materials, I know that over 95% of those who have spoken up about Jekyll Island’s future through the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island State Park website,, and through IPJI surveys have felt the same way as the vast majority of those who have spoken through this blog: “Update or rebuild the existing hotels, convention center, and retail district, expand family dining options, and keep development within the existing footprint. Above all, cling passionately to the natural, pristine charms of Jekyll Island that have drawn generations to Jekyll.” Furthermore, these sentiments were reflected to the same degree in visitor surveys distributed by the JIA itself! And yet, we continue to hear from Linger Longer and from the public relations machine of the Jekyll Island Authority that “most Georgians” are in favor of Linger Longer’s proposal, of more condos, more hotels, more shops, more big development, more to amuse and pacify those hordes of tourists who refuse to return to Jekyll Island until there is more there to keep them amused. Well, JIA and LL, here are OUR collected comments, posted for all the world to see. Where are YOURS?
By Hannah Smith
May 6, 2008 6:44 PM | Link to this
Why doesn’t the JIA have to do some sort of environmental impact assessment BEFORE ANYTHING can go forward? Are they not a governmental agency created to maintain Jekyll for the enjoyment of the CITIZENS of Georgia? Any environmental assessment would make clear the destructive effects of a huge plan pushing into the forest, and the citizens of Georgia keep speaking on this— it’s our island!!!!
By Hall
May 6, 2008 6:58 PM | Link to this
One of the best things about Jekyll is that it has retained a considerable amount of land that represent “nature”. That is the beauty of the island. Commercialism has been kept at a minimum. It is one of the most refreshing places I’ve visited. It is ashame when personally disassociated groups recognize the natural beauty of an area, try to possess it and then when they do, the first thing that is usually done is all the natural beauty is plowed under to make way for concrete and resort structures that no longer resemble the beauty that made Jekyll unique. What ashame that projects to shift the balance of natural beauty should even be considered…..
By Sandra Williamson
May 6, 2008 8:44 PM | Link to this
This whole concept of turning over “our” state park to developers has an air of unreality about it. First of all, isn’t it the governor’s job to appoint people to the JIA whose mandate would be to protect Jekyll’s assets for the people of Georgia? I’m still having trouble believing that a prime part of our state park will potentiallly be turned over to private developers for THEIR gain. Where is the protection for regular citizens in that? I am very hopeful that Gov. Perdue, Casey Cagle, Jerry Keen and others will listen to the people of this state who care passionately about Jekyll maintaining its natural, serene beauty. Refurbish, yes. Overdevelop and claim public land for the wealthy few, NO! It is not too late for them to say, “We hear you!” Otherwise, they will be remembered as those who ruined Jekyll Island, and none of us will forget at the ballot box which side of this issue our public officials came down upon.
May 6, 2008 11:34 PM | Link to this
First let us agree that Jekyll Island is a state park. State parks are supposed to be property owned by the state to be used by all citizens.
I have never understood why people were allowed to build and live in a state park. I certainly do not understand why the State should be trying to let more people live there. And get this - the State will not even be receiving money from the sales of these condos! Tell me why we should let a private developer build condos to sell for their profit on State owned property.
The words “luxury hotel” are mentioned in practically every article about the Jekyll Island development. Is it for all of the wealthy friends of the condo owners to stay in? It certainly will not be for the average Georgian - who is the reason we have state parks to begin with. A well-to-do person can stay in a moderately priced motel, but the not-so-well-to-do person certainly cannot stay in a luxury hotel.
We do not need another “model of how coastal development takes place on the coast”. Places like Hilton Head, Dufuskie, and Skidaway Islands are models we have enough of. While these developments may be beautifully done, there is a house sandwiched in among the trees on every lot. There is a reduction in wildlife and flora. These areas are not open to the public. And we have lost unique limited natural areas that cannot be replaced.South Carolina has allowed practically every one of its barrier islands to be raped for the benefit of privileged people: Georgia needs to protect the few undeveloped barrier islands left.
I could go on and on, but I realize that this development cannot be stopped. The Jekyll Island Authority is made up of powerful people who think development is always the best thing to do. It would be good to improve or rebuild the motels and the convention center. If we had to demolish the Atlanta baseball stadium because it was 25 years old, then I guess the convention center is out of date too.
The only new things we need along the beach are public parking areas and some nice, well mantained bath houses. Our other state parks have public restrooms with bathing facilities.
By Paul H
May 6, 2008 11:38 PM | Link to this
Only an idiot with dollar signs in mind would want to mess up a nice place like Jekyll. I like a laid back atmosphere, rustic, with affordable costs. I don’t want all this new “development” whatsoever, I want it just like it is right now, and no more.
I’ve been coming since I was a kid, and now MY kids are enjoying it. We don’t want change, we want a vacation. If we wanted fancy-schmancy, we’d go to Hilton Head, Panama City, or somewhere similar. Most folks come to Jekyll TO GET AWAY FROM ALL THE CROWDS, traffic, and high prices.
This so-called development is just the camel’s nose under the tent. Soon the rest of the island will fall victim to the wrecking ball, and there will be no more Jekyll. But then, I’m sure “they” know that already !
How ‘bout it folks ????
By susan murphy
May 6, 2008 11:41 PM | Link to this
Jekyll is an anomaly in a world that has devalued the importance…in fact, the necessity….of public space that is natural landscape. Imagine a world where all we expect to see are buildings and commerce, superimposed on natural settings…where nature is an afterthought and deemed “nice as a backdrop” to the business of development and commerce. As a woman who knew St. Simons in the 50’s, I decry the destruction of what is most precious…our living breathing immersed connection with the natural world. We do not need more calculated-for-profit development…we need an antidote to the wall of concrete and noise and shopping that so often is our daily environment.
May 6, 2008 11:51 PM | Link to this
First let us agree that Jekyll Island is a state park. State parks are supposed to be property owned by the state to be used by all citizens.
I have never understood why people were allowed to build and live in a state park. I certainly do not understand why the State should be trying to let more people live there. And get this - the State will not even be receiving money from the sales of these condos! Tell me why we should let a private developer build condos to sell for their profit on State owned property.
The words “luxury hotel” are mentioned in practically every article about the Jekyll Island development. Is it for all of the wealthy friends of the condo owners to stay in? It certainly will not be for the average Georgian - who is the reason we have state parks to begin with. A well-to-do person can stay in a moderately priced motel, but the not-so-well-to-do person certainly cannot stay in a luxury hotel.
We do not need another “model of how coastal development takes place on the coast”. Places like Hilton Head, Dufuskie, and Skidaway Islands are models we have enough of. While these developments may be beautifully done, there is a house sandwiched in among the trees on every lot. There is a reduction in wildlife and flora. These areas are not open to the public. And we have lost unique limited natural areas that cannot be replaced.South Carolina has allowed practically every one of its barrier islands to be raped for the benefit of privileged people: Georgia needs to protect the few undeveloped barrier islands left.
I could go on and on, but I realize that this development cannot be stopped. The Jekyll Island Authority is made up of powerful people who think development is always the best thing to do. It would be good to improve or rebuild the motels and the convention center. If we had to demolish the Atlanta baseball stadium because it was 25 years old, then I guess the convention center is out of date too.
The only new things we need along the beach are public parking areas and some nice, well mantained bath houses. Our other state parks have public restrooms with bathing facilities.
By Decatur
May 7, 2008 12:31 AM | Link to this
Since we vacation on Jekyll once or twice a year, I do not take the proposed development lightly. We travel from Atlanta, and when we reach that historic entry roadway over the marshland, I get so excitd. eace by the sea without retail, high rise hotels or condos. Who on earth would want a town center??? NOT I! That is why we go to Jekyll. This island may be small, but each time we visit, I find something new to treasure, and am so thankful it is NOT commercial, so far anyways. This barrier island needs to remain what it was intended to be, a barrier island with a stewardship. No doubt about it - The Jekyll Island Authority and Gov. Perdue have not abided by the wishes of the people. When I initially went to the island with my other (or husband) I think that he was in total awe as he was from OH, and had probably not even seen the Atlantic from this point of view. We used to travel over to St Simons for this or that when on Jekyll, but when in need of total respite, one does not want to do. Jekyll inspires renewal and is truly “away from it all.” Yep, there could be more restaurants, but we love the Lattitude 31 and are just so happy that during non-peak times it is accessible. There must be so many Georgains that love and adore this island. We generally make the trip during off season, but there sure are a lot of travelers. The AJC media has been fair in covering the JI situation and I do thank the writers and editorialists for that. I am no longer staying away from a key point- Our governor appointed eht JIA.
Sincerely, Vicki Miller
By Timothy Brown
May 7, 2008 8:20 AM | Link to this
Repair, Rebuild, Rehab and stay on the same foot print, yes. Destroy the beach or forest for $$’s no. Will someone please walk in the forest for a day to see and hear the wonders the island has to offer. I drive 2200 miles one way for my chance one month out of the year. Once destroyed it can only be replaced in memory. If the state and the island would follow their own rules this would be a moot issue.
By Pete Banks
May 7, 2008 8:30 AM | Link to this
I am part of a growing group of Canadians that visit Jekyll on a consistent basis. In fact I have been visiting GA’s Jewel for 18 years. We come because of the incredible natural beauty of the island and the hospitality of the fine people of Georgia! We have no interest in condos, shopping malls and limited beach access. I will be marrying my jewel on Jekyll in the summer of 09 and hope the island stays just the way it is! Stay Green Jekyll!
Sincerely, Pete Banks
May 7, 2008 9:53 AM | Link to this
How utterly foolish and wrongheaded of our state leadership to hand this island over to luxury resort developers, against the will of the people who visit regularly and love it for what it is, and has always been, and against the law enacted years ago to protect the interests of the common people of Georgia and to prevent just such a return of the island to the clutches of the rich and elite.
By Carolyn Robison
May 7, 2008 9:55 AM | Link to this
I am so thankful for all the Jeff Chapman, David and Mindy Eagan and all those involved with the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island have done and are doing. I am in agreement that the facilites at Jekyll need to be updated but not to the detriment of the natural habitat and beauty of the island. Jekyll is a state park and should be maintained as such. Please preserve this treasure and do not destroy it by over development.
By Sandra Miller
May 7, 2008 10:03 AM | Link to this
Existing hotels and other structures on Jekyll Island are in need of upgrading, but areas not already developed should be left in their natural state. Georgia has done a remarkable job in keeping Jekyll Island in a relative state of natural habitat. The citizens of Georgia deserve to have that approach continued. The maritime forest is too important to become condos and hotels. Please don’t let this happen!
By Grace E. McLeod
May 7, 2008 11:06 AM | Link to this
Jekyll is an annual affordable vacation spot for my family. Please keep that old charm intact by only updating the old hotels and convention center. If I wanted upscale shopping or high rise condos I would go elsewhere! The undeveloped biking and walking areas are a big draw to my family. Nature provides a much better environment for rest and relaxation than a Linger Longer development with its pavement and shopping centers.
By Ian Cartwright
May 7, 2008 11:18 AM | Link to this
Dear Editor:
I have had one past successful experience with a grass roots group in resisting a huge proposed development in the Muskoka Ontario Canada recreational lake area in the ‘70’s and am in my 14th year with a grass roots group (The Jumbo Creek Conservation Society) successfully resisting a $450,000,000.00 (CDN) development at the Jumbo Glacier in South East British Columbia, Canada,about 70 kilometers as the crow flies from Radium Hot Springs where my wife and I have recreational property, so two years ago while on our annual winter vacation on the Island (where my parents started coming in the 70’s and my wife and I have in the last few years have continued the family tradition) I made a point of contacting the Egan’s to offer my experience, for whatever it was and is worth.
I have supported the ITPJI financially to the tune of $2,500.00 (US) to date and intend to keep contributing, because, while I agree that certain aspects of the Island’s infrastructure needs re-doing I am adamant that any redevelopment must both honour (note the Canadian spelling!) Governor Thompson’s promise that this State Park will be for “the plain people of Georgia” and protect and preserve an environment that is unique in North America.
Ian Cartwright 3620 - 7th Street S W Calgary, Alberta, T2T 2Y1 Canada
PS - if you would like this letter ink signed, let me know and I’ll do it again.
By Art Hurt
May 7, 2008 12:00 PM | Link to this
I received a letter from Governor Sonny Perdue, April 2, 2008, stating in part, “…the JIA will proceed in complete transparency to create a plan that will bring about revitalization.” Okay JIA. Let us see how you plan to achieve this transparency. How can the public have access to your plans? How can the public comment on the plans? How can the public express their opinions as to what is being planned. How do you plan to obey the directive from Governor Perdue? How do you plan to work in partnership with the public at large? We wait for an answer - but not much longer. BTW, this letter from the Governor is available to anyone who wants a copy.
By Jerry
May 7, 2008 3:13 PM | Link to this
I have lived in the area for 22 years, lived on St. Simons for over 10 years and go to Jekyll because it is the only place that is peaceful and undisturbed.The whole thing is about greed. If this state really cares about Jekyll Island they will leave it alone. They would do what ever it takes to keep ALL the natural beauty intact, and not worry about building condos that are not needed in my opinion. They dont have to do any more except revamp some of the hotels and for Gods sake get those golf courses in good shape.If they where to just do this, people would flock to the Island to golf in the winter just as in the past.Jekyll would be fine if people dont get greedy,and do things for the Island and not their pocket book.Us locals love this Island and most of us are begging whomever to leave it alone. Do the bare minimum, not make it another St. Simons or for that matter Hilton Head
By cyberteach
May 7, 2008 5:41 PM | Link to this
The JIA’s website displays its mission statement, which reads in part: “The Jekyll Island State Park Authority shall provide trustworthy stewardship and conservation of our natural and cultural resources….” The last sentence of the JIA’s “Vision Statement” says: Jekyll Island will be recognized as the choice destination among all who discover and enjoy its unique environment, services, and amenities.”
As this blog makes apparent, quite a large number of people believe the JIA has failed to provide “trustworthy stewardship,” and it’s clear the heart of the JIA/LL plan will do nothing to preserve Jekyll’s “unique environment.” What makes the environment unique is laid-back atmosphere, bike trails, a beach unspoiled by expensive hotels, condos, and designer vegatation. Repair what needs repairing and updating, as “appropriate revenues” can obviously be generated from that. Appropriate revenue to me means enough to run the island to keep it appealing to ordinary folks while still paying the bills for upkeep. It doesn’t mean further enriching Mercer Reynolds and Linger Longer. Think Turtle Center, campgroud, and eco-tourism, not another posh, artificial place of which there are already far too many up and down the Atlantic.
I will gladly pay a higher fee to get on the island. I will still buy food at the IGA and patronize the other humble shops, but I will NOT pay a penny to stay in any hotel or condo developed by Linger Longer.
By azi
May 7, 2008 6:13 PM | Link to this
It is unbelievable that we are still having to convince the governor, JIA and Linger Longer that new development should not be done on Jekyll Island. Like many others, I believe the renovations being done and those being planned as well as the rebuilding on former hotel sites will give enough good housing for visitors. However, I do hope these rebuildings and renovations will be friendly to the environment (example - sea turtles). I worry about many comments made by the developers, but one in particular is disturbing. In the April 7, 2008 article in the AJC (JI developers, critics turn attention to forest, by Dan Chapman), there was this quote by Langford: “What we’ve said consistently is that we’d try to minimize any impact on the maritime forest.” Did anyone else catch the word TRY? With no guarantee, they can cut into the maritime forest and then say - well, we said we would TRY but it just didn’t work out so we had to do more. Let’s just keep development out of the maritime forest - period!
The JIA has also tried to say that they have heard us and so maybe the leases on current residential property should not be extended. This sounds more like a 3 or 4-year old saying if you don’t play my way, I won’t play at all. Extending of the residential leases should be approved! The residents do much for the island!!
I love Jekyll Island for all the reasons others have listed - quiet, peaceful, bike paths, beach access, sea turtles, birds, the historic district, the sea turtle center.
Please keep this island the wonderful state park that it is and affordable for all - as mandated.
By ML Miller
May 7, 2008 7:48 PM | Link to this
Last summer, my son and I traveled to Jekyll Island to enjoy our third year of wonderful camping and the outdoors. As we arrived, we immediately noticed the small, but brightly colored rental golf carts that were ferrying vacationers around the island. Coming from South Carolina, this was a most unfortunate sight, reminding us of the commercialism and tourism of Charleston, SC. We choose to travel out-of-state to Jekyll Island, instead of enjoying our state’s numerous beaches, because of its wonderful remoteness (from commercial development and people), and the untouched environmental beauty the island has to offer. We have been fortunate to see many types of wildlife on our bike rides – alligators to manatee – and most importantly, to feel the still renewal that nature offers so abundantly at Jekyll.
As our visit continued last year, we learned of the Sea Turtle Center dedication at the same time we learned of the proposed development. This was such a foul oxymoron relating to the preservation of the environment to public policy of land development. On the one hand, the Authority was supporting the state’s turtle center and on the other, soliciting firms to develop the island.
As a science teacher, I find Linger Longer’s website explaining (and marketing) their plans most humorous! What exactly is an “Environmental Discovery Center?” As a science teacher, a naturalist and an environmentalist, I remind the reader that the environment is not discovered indoors nor does it require multimillion dollar facilities to bring additional people to trample the indigenous plants and scare away the animals. While I certainly believe that people need to be educated about environmental concerns, the point that needs to be understood is that people impact the environment. The artist sketches on Linger Longer’s website reveal a departure from what has made Jekyll so very special; namely, a move away from a historic, public and environmental sanctuary to that of a commercial development on Georgia’s small coast—another tourist trap.
I cannot image the devastation that will result from the proposed plans as set forth. While the Authority issued a RFP relative to the convention center and adjacent areas, it appears that the scope has been continually shifting and changing, much as the tides are apt to do given the present state of world tidal environments. Is one to make the inference that the RFP is undergoing modifications based on the response of the awarded contractor? The RFP is a contract that states how the Authority, acting on the state’s best interest, will proceed and asks for responses that appropriately form a binding contract. This contract needs to have public input and environmental review. While LEEDs standards are wonderful and encouraged, these standards do not take the place of the impact of unnecessary development and the real environmental cost of the human footprint.
The first time I visited Jekyll Island was on my birthday September 20, almost 30 years ago. It was just an overnight stay, but I had carried my night-blooming cereus to the island as its large pink bud was to bloom that night. Later that evening, I watched fishermen passionately cast their lures for shark as the tides escaped to the Atlantic. In the twilight of days past, my distant memory of Jekyll combined with the resident history and my present summer wanderings all illuminate the appropriate future path—an island sanctuary.
Last summer I made a special effort to speak to Chairman Ben Porter during the turtle center festivities. I related how I traveled from SC to Jekyll’s remoteness to avoid the garish tourism that my state proudly promotes. I hope the Authority will consider the impact of their environmental decisions and limit the scope of the RFP to what is environmentally necessary not developmentally imprudent.
By Terry
May 7, 2008 8:36 PM | Link to this
I have a hard time understanding how the JIA, with its self-professed commitment to making Jekyll “a model conservation community,” can entertain destroying any part of the island’s interior, or obstructing Jekyll’s currently open beachfront, for the sake of condominiums and time-shares. Sure, condo sales will be great for Linger Longer/Mercer Reynolds, but will this kind of development be good for Jekyll Island State Park; will it good be for the island’s environement; will it make stays on Jekyll more meaningful or enjoyable; will it reflect well on the JIA as the park’s stewards; will it help make Jekyll a “model conservation community?” From the postings on this blog, it seems like very few Georgians would answer any of these questions affirmatively. If the people who are the true owners of JI State Park are not in favor of Linger Longer-type development, why is it still under consideration by the JIA? For whose benefit will the “new Jekyll” be built?
By Dr. Mary Ann Cernak
May 7, 2008 8:49 PM | Link to this
•  First, I want to thank The Atlanta Journal Constitution for establishing this blog; it is wonderful opportunity for many people to express their opinions about this important issue. Unfortunately, those charged with the oversight of Jekyll Island-namely the Jekyll Island Authority (with the notable exception of Senator Boshears)- have made it very clear they are only interested in the opinions of persons and entities that support their plans to destroy the unique environment of Georgia’s Jewel.
•  The JIA opted to obtain detailed development plans-prior to arranging to have the appropriate economic feasibility, environmental impact, and capacity assessments conducted by by competent neutral professionals (persons who have not already gone on record as supporting any and all development plans). This clearly begs the question-how come? Are the JIA members ignorant of what constitutes “due dilligence”? If those appointed by Governor Perdue lack the training, experience and integrity to be stewarts of Georgia’s Jewel, one must wonder why this is the case. Is the governor such a poor judge of people? Might the governor have deliberately stacked the JIA with developers and development friendly people whose own personal associations and bias prevent them from being objective when planning for this unique place.
•  It seems very clear that in what can be described as a carefully orchestrated media campaign (one that the JIA has spent well into the six figures to develop and promote) those who stand to profit handsomely from proposed development are making unsubstantiated claims that Jekyll Island needs to be re-developed. Let me make this very clear, no developer can improve upon what God has created on Jekyll Island. Some stuctures that have been demolished and the stores need replaced-that is a very different matter than “redeveloping the island”.?
•  In reality, the inability of the JIA to develop an adequate information management systems that enables them to obtain reliable valid data about current visitation to the island- is irresponsible and negligent! The current method of counting visitors is clearly flawed (as documented in an article by Dr. Ken Cordel). Interestingly enough the response of the JIA has not been to develop a system that will enable them to obtain accurate information about critical issues such as: numbers and types of visitors to the island; repeat visitors, reasons people return, what changes do people who frequent the state park wish to see, etc. Truely, if JIA members run their respective business ventures with the same level of insufficient data on which the operation and planning for Jekyll Island is made- it is unlikely that they would experience much success.
•  Currently, there are three beachfront hotels that have been demolished; plans to replace them with more modern larger facilities are moving ahead (very slowly I realize). This means that there will be approximately 900 additional rooms on Jekyll Island. Wouldn’t it be economically and environmentally prudent to complete these projects before moving ahead with plans to construct significantly more rooms?
•  My husband and I have rented a home on Jekyll Island for four months (January through April) for the past six years; we spend a considerable money in Glynn county during that time. We know numerous other people from across the United states and Canada who do the same. In spite of being loyal repeat customers, no representative from the marketing department of the JIA has seen fit to make any effort to determine who we are, how many of us are there, why we come back, how much we spend etc. This strikes me as very poor business practice-especially in light of the current economy. Wouldn’t it make sense to learn about and build on one’s loyal customer base before rushing to build “what people want” (what people we are not exactyly sure) and risk losing the customers you already have? Why chase away loyal customers who spend significant amounts of time and money on Jekyll ? Why not market what is unique about Jekyll Island—are the members of the JIA so lacking in vision that they fail to recognize a golden business opportunity. Interestingly enough Little Saint Simon’s Island advertises in New Yorker Magazine (a Yankee publication with a well educated and financially well off readership); the advertisement emphasizes it is worth spending a considerable sum of money to vacation on an island where there are fewer people and less development than one normally experiences at beach resorts (i.e. Saint Simon’s Island). Jekyll Island is a state park where ordinary Georgians and people from across North America can have a similiar experience for significantly less money than Little Saint Simon’s Island. Isn’t this what a state park is for?
•  Finally, on my own time and at my own expense, I developed and distributed a Jekyll Island Winter Guest Economic Empact survey this past February. I distributed 175 surveys and have received 124 back; the responses represent the opinions of over 200 winter guests. I will be analyzing the data I obtained over the next few months. At that time I will have actual data from people who are already lingering longer on Jekyll Island—as of now, no other entity that I am aware of has anything close to this.
Finally unlike the female Loggerhead Sea Turtles hatched on Jekyll Island who must return there to nest, I have the option of going elsewhere in the event the re-development does not suit me.
Mary Ann Cernak, Ph.D., LCSW
By Jan Smith
May 7, 2008 9:47 PM | Link to this
I personally feel that Jekyll Island has declined over the years. I look forward to the new development on the island!! I have lived in this area all my life and feel that some of the people that live on Jekyll want to roll up the carpet and bar the doors so that they can have the island all to theirselves at taxpayers expense! They claim it is to protect the habitat and wildlife on the island. If that is so they need to give up their homes and stores on Jekyll and give it back to nature! I see it as greed! It is like the pot calling the kettle black!
By turtleadvocate
May 7, 2008 10:18 PM | Link to this
The post by “Jan Smith” (7 May, 9:47 PM) contains the same old insulting, defamatory hogwash (“selfish” residents, “roll up the carpet”, “taxpayers’ expense”) that has been spit out so often by the spinmasters hired by the Jekyll Island State Park Authority and their Private Partner, Linger Longer Communities. These falsehoods have been fully and wholly refuted over and over again, but the spinmasters know that the more they spit this garbage out, the more citizens they will hoodwink. But, viewing the vast majority of the content in this blog, one must conclude that the spinmasters are not succeeding.
By Melanie Stapler
May 8, 2008 7:39 AM | Link to this
I am not interested in Jekyll Island being changed! It is ridiculous that people are so greedy that they wish to put highrises on a barrier island such as Jekyll. We need the wildlife worse than we need more concrete!!!
By Melanie Stapler
May 8, 2008 8:07 AM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is perfect. Only greedy people would want to build highrise condos on a barrier island! Leave Jekyll for the turles!
By Teresa Powell
May 8, 2008 8:08 AM | Link to this
LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!I would like to have some areas of this country remain undeveloped so that My kids and grandkids know what the word “natural” means.
By michelle
May 8, 2008 9:49 AM | Link to this
Although I practice in Georgia, I just received an invitation to a conference to be held on Jekyll Island sponsored by the Connecticut Veterinary Association. They raved about out little island. Why is it that people all around our nation can see what a valuable and special place this is—but our own state legislators cannot? This group was not waiting for more shopping/condos/timeshares. They are happy to be coming now.
By Marian Gordin
May 8, 2008 10:11 AM | Link to this
I’d like to see Jekyll become an “eco-resort” with redevelopment along the lines of the Len Foote Hike Inn in the State Park System. Such an approach would keep costs reasonable for visitors of all economic groups while keeping development impact low and “green.” Jekyll would become a world-class example of an educationally significant and environmentally friendly destination for great family fun. There are many places to play golf, shop, and eat at high-end restaurants. There are many fewer places where people can visit a unique historical site as well as get back to nature and have a truly spiritual experience.
By Nita Wynn
May 8, 2008 10:22 AM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is a state treasure which belongs to all Georgians. I agree that the existing facilities need refurbishing. However, the natural areas should remain as they are presently, so that they can be enjoyed by all the citizens of this state. Additional development of the island would ruin the habitat neccessary to the wildlife on the island. Vital nesting areas of birds and turtles would be ruined. The marshes are the incubators of many fish and other sea creatures. I much prefer the natural vistas and would hate a march of condos and high-rises on the shoreline. Leave Jekyll natural, not developed. We already have more concrete than we need.
By Martha Trisler
May 8, 2008 12:23 PM | Link to this
I am a seventh grade life science teacher and have taken my students to the Jekyll Island 4-H Center for the past two years. What they learn by exploring in the estuary, salt marsh, maritime forest and marine environments and doing real life science can not be matched in the classroom. This trip is the most memorable and educational experience that my students have all year. Over the years thousands of students around the state have enjoyed seeing and experiencing first hand the natural world at Jekyll that is so unique. I would hate to take this experience taken away from them because a few adults decided that condos and “resorts” are more important.
By Leon Galis
May 8, 2008 2:10 PM | Link to this
Even though it’s a matter of state law that Jekyll Island is a state park—the legal title of the JIA is the Jekyll Island State Park Authority—apparently DNR’s State Parks & Historical Sites Division hasn’t gotten the word. If you visit their web site, you’ll find the following statement. “Our website includes the 63 State Parks and Historic Sites managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. If the property you are seeking is not listed, it may be operated by the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, a state authority or another agency. Future state parks, such as Standing Boy Creek and Don Carter, are not listed because they are not yet open to the public. Stone Mountain Park, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Areas, Piedmont Park, Lake Lanier Islands and Jekyll Island are not state parks.” The State Parks & Historical Sites Division doesn’t know that Jekyll Island is a state park? Go figure.
By Tommy Watson
May 8, 2008 3:14 PM | Link to this
Money hungry, period!! Leave jekyll the way it is~ It’s fantastic! Great place to get away for a break, but I can guarantee you, If it is developed any more than it already is, this annual vacationer from north west Tennessee will no longer bring his or his family or our money to the coast of Georgia!! Why not put money into remodeling the club hotel, which really needs a face lift or some of the othere hotels and maybe the campground. But why ruin such a beautiful place with development that is just not needed? Keep this beautiful island as natural as it is now and let my children enjoy the relaxing feel that I had as a child and my parents did as children also!! Please don’t do this! So many people will stop coming to Jekyll!! KEEP JEKYLL THE WAY IT IS!!!!!!!!
By Sandra Hamel
May 8, 2008 3:27 PM | Link to this
On May 7, 2008 at 9:47 pm Jan Smith posted a comment in favor of the new development on Jekyll Island.
According to her post she has lived in this area all her life and feels that Jekyll Island has declined over the years. She’s right about that. There is no doubt that has happened. The decline has been in the deterioration of the 10 old hotels on Jekyll, the convention center and the shopping center.. Revitalization of these 10 old hotels started awhile ago. Some have been remodeled or replaced. Others are in the process for future remodeling or replacement. There were also plans for the revitalization of the convention center and shopping center in the same areas they are now. She, also, writes that “there are people on Jekyll who want to roll up the carpet and bar the doors so they can have the island all to theirselves at taxpayers expense!” I’m sorry she believes this. The people living on Jekyll are not waging this argument against this development alone. They are certainly not doing it for the reasons she suggests. Up until Jekyll Island Authority Chairman Porter and Linger Longer Communities proposed, what many consider, overdevelopment on Jekyll Island I think people took the natural open area between the beach and the Historic District for granted. There was a quote in a previous post I try my best to remember. “Take care of the earth. This land was not given to you by your fathers. It is on loan to you by your children.” Governor Perdue and his appointed Jekyll Island Authority board members are forgetting they are now in the position of protecting Jekyll Island for future generations. Governors over the years have inherited this responsibility. Past administrations have protected the last open beach area on Jekyll for the people of Georgia. Unfortunately it was never protected through legislation. Now, Governor Perdue and his appointed JIA board chairman Porter think this land was given to them to do with as they please. They, along with Linger Longer Communities propose new development of much of the area between the beach and the Historic District. With this development that area will change forever, and, Jekyll doesn’t need any more hotels and condos. People aren’t opposing redevelopment. They are opposing destruction of any more areas of Jekyll that have not yet been developed. It is totally irresponsible for this administration to back proposals for new development on Jekyll Island when they should be concerning themselves with the plans for the hotels, convention center, and shopping center that are already there.
By Janet Harris
May 8, 2008 4:02 PM | Link to this
As a native Georgian (9 generations) and a citizen who loves and appreciates the natural beauty and tranquility of Jekyll Island, I am vehemently opposed to the development plans of Linger Longer! I cannot fathom the lack of integrity on the part of Governor Perdue and the Jekyll Island Authority to utterly destroy Jekyll Island! Isn’t the JIA supposed to preserve and protect the island? Yes, I do agree that the convention center and the shopping center need “facelifts,” and some of the existing hotels need renovations, but let’s stop there! There should be absolutely no disturbance of any of the beachfront area,the Ben Fortson Parkway, or the maritime forest! My family has been vacationing at Jekyll for almost 25 years, and we want to continue that tradition, knowing that we’ll enjoy the same lovely and peaceful visit! Tremendous gratitude goes to Sen. Jeff Chapman for his untiring efforts as a champion of preserving Jekyll Island so that it will not be turned into another Hilton Head!
By Patti
May 8, 2008 5:07 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island MUST be preserved!! NO, Jekyll does NOT need to become “another Myrtle Beach or Daytona” - - if that’s the type of resort area someone is seeking, let them go to one of those!! The natural landscape, serenity, and beauty of Jekyll is what makes it so very special and appealing to so many. Linger Longer needs to realize that lifelong citizens of Georgia who cherish Jekyll do NOT want an upscale resort area, filled with condos, retail,etc.- - that is NOT what Jekyll is about!!
By turtleadvocate
May 8, 2008 5:46 PM | Link to this
ML Miller (7 May post at 7:48 PM) points out the irony of the JISPA’s support of a Sea Turtle Center alongside their support of the erection of a large condominium/timeshare village in Jekyll Island State Park. ML Miller would be less surprised at this oxymoronic situation, if he/she were aware that the Park Authority has designated the Sea Turtle Center’s Director as an advisor to the Authority’s Private Partner, Linger Longer Communities (LLC). This designation was made public at the January meeting of the Park Authority’s Oversight Committee in Atlanta (see JICANet Update Vol IX, No. 7, 25 Jan 2008). The salary of the Sea Turtle Center’s Director is paid by the Park Authority, and his office is on the same floor of the JISPA’s headquarters building as is the office of the Park Authority’s Executive Director. Does anyone think that the Sea Turtle Center’s Director is satisfactorily independent of the Park Authority to be an effective overseer of the Authority and LLC’s real-estate-development activities, regarding their potential impact upon critical nesting habitat of loggerhead turtles? (Please note that although LLC has withdrawn its plan to build condominiums and timeshares directly behind the dunes on the central beach of the Park, they still plan to put public-amusement facilities, which presumably will be lighted at night, with some light polluting the nesting area of loggerheads, directly behind the dunes of the central beach of the Park.)
By charles s. farriss III
May 8, 2008 9:15 PM | Link to this
I was just recently there at a beautiful wedding and absolutely awed by the scenery. Historically it seems to have been treated nicely.Leave it alone. Redevelope thwe hotels already there and stay away from the tidelands. Also leave the old hotel alone . It’s a world I appreciate having participated in.
By MJ Stokan
May 8, 2008 9:28 PM | Link to this
Jekyll Island presents an opportunity for the pristine beauty of nature to be maintained for generations to come. Overdevelopment has destroyed the unique flavor of many coastal areas. Do not repeat the same mistakes.
By Mae
May 8, 2008 9:49 PM | Link to this
Surveyors have been seen on the historic Great Dunes golf course and on the beach between Blackbeard’s Restaurant and the Oceanside Inn and Suites (the old Wanderer.) What does this mean for the future of Jekyll Island? One can only specualte that once the beachfront from the convention center to Blackbeard’s was taken out of the picture for oceanfront development and the wetlands west of Beachview Dr. looked problematic, LLC and the JIA needed to look elsewhere for oceanfront condo and hotel development. Could this mean that Beachview Drive will be re-routed westward onto the first three holes of Great Dunes to make way for development? A state park is supposed to be a recreational opportunity for the people of the state not a condo development especially when, as countless people have indicated on this blog, that Jekyll Island’s hotel and condo pool will double when REDEVELOPMENT of exissting hotel properties are completed! What part of fiscal responsibility doesn’t this board understand? Redevelop what you have before you overwhelm the market with more than it might possibly bear! Historic golf courses such as Great Dunes and Oleander could and should be marketed for their historic value not exploited for commercial development. MOVE the condos and hotels to the interior of the island…people will come and stay in them and be happy to have the expderience of the open beach and beautiful historic golf courses.
By Carolyn and Jacques
May 9, 2008 9:25 AM | Link to this
Jekyll Island is beautifully unique and should remain so. There should be a plan, a well thought out, island plan for an environmentally themed facelift. The Maritime forest and it’s special flora and creatures is a rare thing in today’s “Myrtle Beach” type thinking, which seems to be, raze the land of trees, fauna and all that is natural and replace it with cement. There are areas on the beach near existing hotel sites and older hotels which could be restored or replaced without destroying one plant. Why not go that way?? The investors could reap their profit from this type of rejuvenation. The Convention Hall seems very large and in decent shape, to be torn down, rather than renovated. There is room alongside on the beach parking lot to build whatever is necessary to meet the needs of Georgians using it. The shopping centre could be upgraded, or rebuilt without slashing down any live oaks, or forests. The parking lots and walkway along the central area of the beach have been upgraded and could be moreso, again without any destruction of trees and beach. Please, let us keep Jekyll Island as Georgia’s jewel, the way it was meant to be.
By George King
May 9, 2008 10:08 AM | Link to this
Ultimately, this is an argument about preserving and restoring a unique environment with all the complexity and bio-diversity that that implies, versus the financial interests of a few people. There is so little left—why is this even a discussion?
This is public land. Hands off!
By Janisse Ray
May 9, 2008 10:29 AM | Link to this
Hello Governor Perdue, Reynolds cousins, Linger Longer paid guns, & politicians willing to steal a wild barrier island from the people of Georgia:
By Susan DeHoff
May 9, 2008 11:58 AM | Link to this
A lot has been said about Jekyll Island. Much of it in strong opposition to the development plans of Linger Longer Communities. Perhaps not enough has been said about Gov. Perdue’s responsibility for this mess. Harry Truman has been quoted as saying, “The buck stops here,” and that applies to all elected executive officials. In Gov. Perdue’s case, the responsibility for the Linger Longer plans stops at his desk. He appointed the members of the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA), choosing those who would strongly support Linger Longer. His leadership in the Republican Party in GA has also been useful in “stacking the deck” in favor of Linger Longer, to wit the recent legislative session. His actions are not winning him a lot of voter approval! Perhaps there is need for a change before November. Gov. Perdue needs to get in sync with the voting public, much of which vociferously opposes his and Mr. Reynolds’ plans for Jekyll. That means reappointing Mr. Boshears to the JIA and following the wisdom of that move by wisely appointing others who share Mr. Boshears understanding of what responsibility for Jekyll Island really means.
Jekyll Island has long been known as “Georgia’s Jewel,” a well-deserved title. It is, indeed, a golden jewel in Georgia’s Golden Isles. But it is gold for the people of Georgia and their guests, not for the pockets of developers. Those who are interested in financially profiting from gold have a tendency to destroy it. Remember what happened to “The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg?” The scheme hatched by Mr. Reynolds and the current members of the JIA will kill the goose. The tourists who enjoy Jekyll enjoy it for what it is now. Change it to be like Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, and we will stop coming. In droves.
By Loves Jekyll
May 9, 2008 1:41 PM | Link to this
It’s wonderful to read the heartfelt comments from so many caring people about doing all we can to protect Jekyll Island. But those elected or appointed to positions of political power care nothing about what the people of Georgia and visitors to Jekyll want.
To reiterate what thousands have said already — Jekyll Island is a place of pristine beauty that offers rest and renewal for countless visitors, and it needs to be protected from development. The lack of development is what makes Jekyll so different from all other “tourist attractions.”
Those pushing for development do not understand or appreciate nature and wildlife, and fail to see that it is critical to safeguard a unique state treasure for everyone to enjoy and cherish.
Any development of the maritime forest, or any part of Jekyll Island, is shocking. The proposed cutting of beautiful, old trees, aside from the irreparable harm it would do to the ecology, will not only ruin Jekyll for the people who love it, but will cause serious upheavals to the beautiful creatures—deer, migratory birds, turtles, and ocean birds—that make Jekyll the unique and magical place it is.
The developers obviously want to use Jekyll to make millions of dollars for themselves and for the politicians and appointees who support them. The politicians pushing for development and the JIA are completely ignoring what the public wants, and are equally focused on making this beautiful state park into a money-making machine. It is obvious that the reason JIA and many politicians want to use Jekyll Island to pour money into the hands of developers is because much of it filters right back into their pockets.
The Governor, the senators (with the exception of Sen. Chapman), and the entire JIA Board starting with Ben Porter (but excluding Ed Boshears) all need to be thrown out of office. (Sen. Chapman and Mr. Boshears seem to be the only two honest people in the lot, and seem to truly care about preserving and protecting Jekyll Island.) The rest have failed miserably in meeting their responsibilities to the people of Georgia, repeatedly.
Remember this, people of Georgia, when it’s election time, and let’s protect our precious “jewel” from the grabby hands of these ruthlessly mercenary people.
Spread the word that state parks are not for development—they are for people to visit, commune with nature, and to nourish and rejuvenate their souls. The best option is to leave Jekyll alone, so it can remain the jewel it is.
By Joe
May 9, 2008 2:10 PM | Link to this
If you have been to Jekyll Island then you know it is enjoyable for the way it is now. Adding more development would take away from the tranquility that makes it unique. Jekyll Island in not just a place it is an experience that will be greatly diminished with future development.
By Joe
May 9, 2008 2:15 PM | Link to this
If you have been to Jekyll Island then you know it is enjoyable for the way it is now. Adding more development would take away from the tranquility that makes it unique. Jekyll Island in not just a place it is an experience that will be greatly diminished with future development.
By Sally
May 9, 2008 2:20 PM | Link to this
Like many of those who have commented, I like Jekyll as it is. My family has spent many long weekends there over the years, and though the motels/hotels are definitely worn, the green space is fabulous, the birds are glorious, and the beaches beautiful. Linger Longer’s plans would change all this. Please, members of the Jekyll Island Authority, keep Jekyll for the citizens of Georgia and the flora and fauna we love so much!
By Karen
May 9, 2008 8:55 PM | Link to this
Jekyll needs to remain unspoiled. I have been going to Jekyll for 51 years and my parents made their first trek in 1949, staying at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel for their honeymoon. They love it to this day as do their 3 children and their 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Please leave this small piece of heaven to those of us who want this beautiful island to remain unspoiled for generations to come.
By Shelby
May 10, 2008 9:45 AM | Link to this
Redevelop only!! Leave the rest alone! Once this unique environment is destroyed, it is gone forever. For once, do something right for the taxpayers and citizens of Georgia!
By Dan Corrie
May 10, 2008 10:37 AM | Link to this
I believe there should be an investigation of Jekyll Island’s redevelopment process to determine if it has been driven by personal interests, rather than by public needs or desires. It appears the wrong people (other than, from I understand, Mr. Boshears) have been entrusted with the stewardship of Jekyll Island. With Republican support in the Legislature, the JIA and LLC have aggressively pushed an agenda for high density development that would be destructive to what makes Jekyll wonderful for visitors and hospitable for nature. They appear to lack the judgment and disinterestedness to be trusted with this important responsibility.
Falsehoods have pushed this plan forward. JIA Senior Director of Marketing and Business Development Eric Garvey astonishingly wrote in a Feb. 14 letter to the AJC, “Our critics, though vocal, are a minority.” In that same letter, Garvey sounded the mantra that has been the JIA’s and LLC’s cornerstone justification for the proposed development plan: “Over the past 15 years, Georgians have voted with their wallets – by not coming to Jekyll as they used to, instead spending their beach vacations in other states. That silent but powerful vote demonstrates a need for change.” This remark harkens to LLC’s and the JIA’s oft-evoked talking point that Jekyll has experienced a 47 percent decline in visitation since 1990, as well as Jekyll’s falling in 2006 into a $210,575 fiscal deficit. Yet the March 13 AJC article “Jekyll Island Figures Just Don’t Add Up” detailed how these figures were derived from JIA annual reports’ inconsistent methods for tallying and their record-keeping’s unusual budgetary categories, the latter of which State Auditor John Thornton wrote in a February 14 letter to Senator Chapman, “The JIA Annual Reports are not prepared in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.” In startling contrast to the above figures, findings of the Georgia Department of Transportation and of the state auditor indicated only a slight decrease in recent visitation to Jekyll and a 2006 profit for Jekyll of nearly $2 million. When Garvey was asked about such discrepancies, the AJC reported, “Garvey said he didn’t want to haggle over statistics.” When I read this response, I angrily recalled reading in the Feb. 29 AJC how JIA members in a Georgia Senate committee meeting had accused Senator Chapman of “lying to make his case” when he described the “fudging” of “visitor numbers and underreporting its revenue” that would be reported two weeks later in the AJC article.
This process has been rash, slapdash and out of control. In his February 14 AJC letter, Garvey reassuringly wrote, “The Authority, working with Linger Longer, will take as much time as needed to ensure we have a plan that limits impact on the natural environment, returns reasonable revenue to the authority and best serves the people of Georgia.” However, the process has bolted forward without thoughtful, fact-based impact studies. The original redevelopment plan approved by the Legislature quickly ballooned from a 24-acre project to a 64-acre project. As early as last January, Governor Perdue asked the State Legislature to approve $25 million in bonds for facilitating Jekyll’s redevelopment. The Jan. 24 Golden Islander reported LLC Project Manager Jim Langford announcing that LLC at that time was finalizing the contract with JIA, then would “revise the plan, and go out to the public again, do the design work, and begin building in about a year.”
Furthermore, rather than Jekyll’s would-be stewards being open to learning from public feedback, there appears to be arrogant determination in pushing certain goals as far as possible. For example, an early battle in this process arose from the alarming threat to the south beach, Jekyll’s greatest natural asset. Instead of recognizing the south beach as a sanctuary for nature and a harbor for the human soul, the LLC focused on it as a particularly glamorous setting for new hotels and condos. And as recently as March 28 in arguing for the town center complex, the JIA chairman in his letter to Georgia legislators seemed to have gained little or no understanding or perspective from the earlier public outcry over the threat to the south beach. In justifying the development of the town center, he argued, “Just last year, more restrictions were put in place to limit any redevelopment on the south end of the island,” as though quaint nature had been misallocated more than its fair share, and now was high time for fat development contracts to start being funded.
While law limits Jekyll’s development to 35 percent of the island, law offers no guideline or limitations to the density of that portion’s development. Although the plan’s latest threat to Jekyll — the beach-front town center complex — seems to have been averted, there is no indication that the $352 million dollar redevelopment plan will be scaled back, but, rather, that LLC will only shift its components to other areas of the island. Why is this so, after the majority of Georgians have made clear they oppose this project’s scale? Apart from LLC’s proposed plan, ample redevelopment is already going on at Jekyll: construction already is proceeding with new hotels on three Jekyll properties, and new condos have been approved for at least two. In the Jan. 24 Golden Islander, Porter stated that Jekyll in 2000 offered 1,532 hotel rooms and, under the proposed plan, would offer 3,000 rooms, which would be more than twice the number of rooms available on St. Simons Island. Yet Georgians don’t want Jekyll to become another St. Simons Island. Will Jekyll’s maritime forest be LLC’s next idea of a hot site for hotels?
The LLC plan for Jekyll can’t be fixed by tweaking and modifying around its edges. The plan is fundamentally flawed. This process should be formally investigated, with the LLC redevelopment process stopped until the investigation has been carried out.
Dan Corrie Atlanta/Tifton
By Carla White
May 11, 2008 8:17 AM | Link to this
Having read the posts above, I truly do not know what more could be said or should need to be said. Will Georgia’s leadership listen to their constituents or will they coddle the LLC at the expense of Jekyll’s natural environment and what tax payers want for the island’s future?

By Jeremy Roberts
May 12, 2008 7:18 PM | Link to this
I am a 24 year old graduate student at the University of Georgia. Over the years, many family vacations have been held at Jekyll. During these trips, I have been privileged to witness the natural beauty of the island.
I am by no means an expert on this issue. However, as a Jekyll vacationer, I do not want to see futher development on the island. It is one of the few beaches in Georgia that I know of where one can walk without facing large crowds.
Families can take their kids to Jekyll, where they can see birds, fish, flowers, and other forms of nature that are becoming all too rare these days. It is my sincere hope that no further development is allowed on the island.
By Nancy Palmer
May 13, 2008 2:56 PM | Link to this
For the future - we need some natural perserves left off our coast line. Overbuilding a state treasure, for profit, is not the answer. Updating what is there now is a good idea, but let’s leave some beautiful, natural islands along our coast that generations to come can enjoy & appreciate.
By Leon Galis
May 13, 2008 3:05 PM | Link to this
I’ve just sent the following letter to Governor Perdue with copies to the members of the General Assembly’s Jekyll Island Authority Oversight Committee. If people posting to this blog would do something similar, maybe it would make an impression. We can dream, can’t we?
Dear Governor Perdue, I am writing regarding the Jekyll Island State Park Authority’s conduct of the revitalization of Jekyll Island State Park. I have followed the Authority’s revitalization project closely and I believe that the process the Authority has employed has irretrievably broken down and can’t be repaired without your intervention. Leaving entirely aside the merits of development proposals that the Authority has generated, I believe that the Authority made, and continues to make, three errors that have proved fatal to their project. First, the Authority selected a development company for Jekyll Island without first conducting the various studies that to any reasonable person should have preceded the selection of a developer and whose results should have informed and shaped any proposals submitted by developers. According to the record of the Authority’s meeting of April 14, 2008, the Authority has only just now begun a visitation/capacity study which will take four months. And the Authority’s Conservation Plan is still under review by the Authority’s legal counsel. The importance of conducting such studies prior to the development of any revitalization plans is demonstrated by the recent withdrawal of a proposal to build on a portion of the beach front that the Authority apparently didn’t know was covered by the Shore Protection Act. Second, the Authority has not adequately solicited and considered stakeholder input. As it has belatedly discovered, Jekyll Island’s stakeholders are not confined to Jekyll Island residents, but include thousands of people from all over the United States and even Canada who have visited Jekyll Island over many years and have a deep attachment to it. Third, as a state agency, the Authority has an obligation of transparency that it hasn’t come close to meeting. On the contrary, the Authority seems to regard reasonable requests for records and documents as an intrusion on its activities and has been either slow or unwilling to respond. The cumulative result of these failures has been to create a perception that the Authority is incompetent, at best, or underhanded, at worst. That perception, now widespread around our state whether justified or not, has so poisoned the atmosphere surrounding the Authority that a favorable outcome is no longer possible without your forceful intervention. Because of the adversarial relationship that has developed between the Authority and Jekyll Island’s stakeholders, whatever the Authority does from this point on carries a very high risk of leaving bitterness and suspicion in its wake, to the benefit of no one involved. Therefore, I urge you in the strongest possible terms to direct the Jekyll Island State Park Authority to begin the revitalization process de novo, conducting the appropriate studies competently and thoroughly, taking due account of stakeholder input, of which it now has a great deal, and opening its procedures and activities to public scrutiny as required for state agencies. Further, I urge you to direct the Authority to sever its ties to Linger Longer Communities, indemnifying the developer for any losses, and to invite new proposals informed by the appropriate studies and consideration of stakeholder input. You have it in your hands to join your predecessor, Melvin Thompson, in a place of honor in the history of Jekyll Island, or to be remembered for something considerably less admirable and farsighted. I urge you to choose the former.
By bob Meadows
May 14, 2008 10:19 PM | Link to this
As the doctors say,”take a rest from the stresses of everyday life,get away from the heavy concentration of people, noise, traffic congestion etc.,instead walk the beaches, ride a bike, get next to nature and breathe in clean air. You know what, Jekyll Island to-day is just what the doctor has ordered. Yes some upgrades on existing footprints would be nice but don’t let the “profit takers” spoil this North American Jewell. Bob Meadows
By Terry
May 15, 2008 11:08 AM | Link to this
Leon Galis is right on target in calling on Gov. Perdue to examine more carefully the Jekyll development plans of his appointees on the JIA board.
Gov. Perdue first needs to accept the fact that most people support responsible redevelopment of Jekyll Island State Park, meaning development that provides for: 1)modern accommodations priced at rates one would expect to find in a state park; 2) a renovated/expanded convention center; and 3) more nature-based and recreational activities that capitalize on what Jekyll has to offer as a relatively undeveloped, lush barier island.
The Gov. needs to recognize that the JIA’s approach to revitalization is fudnamentally flawed b/c it is driven by the profit motive rather than by what’s best for our state park, its wildlife, environemnt, and its visitors.
Gov. Perdue must already know and accept that Linger Longer has come to Jekyll primarily to sell high-priced condos and time-shares. After all, that’s what developers do - no one should expect altruism or a bunch of good deeds from a profit-driven enterprise. Sure, there’s a certain “greenness” to what LL is proposing and the JIA is sanctioning, but all signs point toward an eagerness to build condos on Jekyll’s most atractive acreage. The beachfront of this beautiful island, its maritime forest, and its recreational facilities, especially parts of the golf course complex, are all siutable as condo sites, according to Gov. Perdue’s appointees.
All of the above points to the need for Jekyll’s advocates to call or write Gov. Perdue, and let him know that the kind of development he has signed on to through his JIA appointees is unwise, unwarranted, and unwanted by the general public. It’s his responsibility to straighten out the Jekyll development mess - after all, as Georgia’s chief executvie, the development buck stops on his desk.