Jekyll looks for boost in national contest
The Brunswick News
June 2, 2012

The Jekyll Island Foundation says it will match any winnings received by Jekyll Island in America's Favorite Park contest.

The island was in fourth place out of 25 parks as of Friday afternoon with 336,705 votes, more than 2 million votes behind the leader Swift-Cantrell Park near Kennesaw.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has asked Georgians to vote for Sweetwater Creek State Park, currently in fifth place, which is west of Atlanta.

The "America Is Your Park" campaign is in its third year and awards grants to top-ranking parks for enhancements through the contest. Individuals can vote as often as they wish at until July 15.

The top ranking park will be awarded a $100,000 recreation grant. Second place will receive $50,000 and the third spot $25,000. One random park between fourth and 25th ranking will get a $15,000 grant. Jekyll Island said any winnings received would be spent on diamond back terrapin research, construction of a birding wildlife platform on Driftwood Beach and moving a historic skeet building into the Historic District.

The move would make it more accessible to visitors, said Mac DeVaughn, executive director of the Jekyll Island Foundation. "We need to do these projects," he said. "They're about $215,000 and every dollar we can accumulate will help." DeVaughn said he hopes the foundation's commitment to match funding will inspire more people to vote and put the island in the top spot. "Just about any kind of reach we can aspire to we're trying to do,"

DeVaughn said. Eric Garvey, chief communications officer for the Jekyll Island Authority, says the island is doing everything it can to spark interest.

Organizations like Initiative to Save Jekyll Island, Jekyll Island Arts Association and Friends of Historic Jekyll Island are working to garner votes, while some island businesses are offering discounts for customers who cast their votes.

Promotional events are also planned for next month. "We will have a voting event at Summer Waves next week, and in July, Coca-Cola is bringing out their 'swelter stopper' promotional vehicle that we will also use as a voting event,"

Garvey said. VOTE Votes can be cast at People can cast as many votes as they'd like.