Record of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority (JISPA) Board Meeting of 15 November 2010, in Chalets 7&8 of the Interim Convention Center, as recorded for JICA

(Note:IPJI has placed some text in "bold" type for emphasis and has clarified some statements)

Chairman Bob Krueger brought the meeting to order at 9:30 AM.  Board members present were Buddy De Loach, Mike Hodges, Sybil Lynn, and Richard Royal.  Local DNR Director (Coastal Resources Division) Spud Woodward sat in for the position of DNR Commissioner (the position of DNR Commissioner is currently open).  Also present was Park Authority Executive Director Jones Hooks, and Board member Laura Lanier was on conference telephone.  The audience numbered about 23 persons.  Chairman Krueger opened the meeting with a call for recognition of veterans (since Veterans Day has just passed) in the audience.  The veterans present stood and received a round of applause.

COMMITTEE SESSIONS:

CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION COMMITTEE:

Chairman Royal requested that Sea Turtle Director Dr. Terry Norton provide information on a joint meeting of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.  Norton pointed out that the Sea Turtle Center has been so busy lately, that he preferred to provide an update on all of the Center's activities, which he proceeded to do (see http://www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org/).  Items of particular note: in July, 2010, the visitorship reached 250,000; over 100 sea-turtle patients have been treated at the Center in 2010; cod-liver oil and mayonnaise was the diet used to clean the guts of oiled sea turtles from the Gulf of Mexico; laser surgery has been found to be effective in treatment of fibropapilloma (a disease caused by a herpes virus) of sea turtles; the joint AAZV/ARAV meeting will include a sea-turtle laboratory arranged by Norton for 25 veterinarians from all over the USA and the world; a new conference hosted by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and the Park Authority will be held in early 2012 in the Park (the Southeastern Sea Turtle Conference).

Frank Mirasola asked Norton for his opinion regarding a recent appearance of beached, dead sting rays in the Park?  Answer: necropsies showed no signs of disease, so it is speculated that these rays were injured in shrimp trawls and dumped.

Vance Hughes inquired about potential expansion of the international programs of the Center?  Answer: no major internal expenses have yet been necessary, so funding has not been a limiting factor for these programs – grant funding is generally available.

FINANCE COMMITTEE:

Chairman Hodges reported total revenues for the month of October of $1.331 million ($44,000 under budget).  Events and special marketing revenues were $81,000 under budget, primarily due to shortfall in the Georgia/Florida weekend revenues.  For the fiscal year to date, total revenues were 4% over budget.  Total expenses for the month of October were $1.441 million, and for the fiscal year to date, total expenses were $5.85 million ($167,000 under budget).  All of the Park's hotels except the Club Hotel had revenues for October which were lower than in October 2009 (of course, not including the Hampton Inn).  Marketing Director Eric Garvey commented that the hotels are continuing to see weakness in the travel-industry economy, and the loss of one regular convention group (the United Church of God) was hurtful to October's hotel revenues.  Director Hooks noted that although the Georgia/Florida weekend was weak with respect to total revenues, the event had positive financials with respect to funding for the Jekyll Island Foundation, due to reduced costs.

MARKETING COMMITTEE:

Chairman Buddy DeLoach called upon Marketing Director Eric Garvey.  Garvey noted that a successful Georgia Alumni Oyster Roast was held at Great Dunes Park.  He described Great Dunes as a terrific setting for the event.  Georgia Recreation and Parks Association held their Convention following the Oyster Roast, and their meeting, using the Morgan Center and the pavilion rooms, was considered very successful.  This meeting was quickly followed by a gathering of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Bank (Bernanke and Greenspan both attended).  Several round-table sessions have been held by the marketing staff, including a recent one with salespersons from the Park's hotels and one with local businesses, to develop plans for dealing with the down economy and gain sponsors for Park events.

Garvey drew attention to the local Golden Isles magazine (http://www.goldenislesmagazine.com) in which the Authority's Events Director Beth Burnsed received coverage as one of the Isles' best under-40 business leaders.  Burnsed, who was present, received a round of applause.

Director Hooks added a footnote: the Jekyll Island State Park Authority produces more special events than any other local entity, including government bodies with separate events departments.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE:

Chairman Krueger introduced the first reading of the Park's new water-usage ordinance.  This ordinance will be posted on the Park's website for review.  The new ordinance was prompted by passage of a water-usage bill by the State Legislature.  (See <http://www.jekyllislandauthority.org/ImportantPostings.aspx>)

Director Hooks observed that the application forms are now available for residents who wish to obtain a license to enable them to rent their homes under the new lease agreement.  The forms are available from Steve Bolin, Code Enforcement Officer, whose office is located at the Jekyll Fire Station.  To obtain a license, residents will be required to place smoke detectors in proper locations in their homes.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Convention Center, on the site of the rubble of the old Center, is now scheduled through the Governor's Office for 7 December at 2:00 PM.  The summer of 2012 is still the date expected for completion of the new Convention Center.

Director Hooks remarked that the Park Authority is undertaking a massive tree-relocation effort in conjunction with the road-building and construction in the south-central part of the Park.  Thirty-two large live oaks and many palms are being moved (cost > $300,000).  An additional $50,000 is being dedicated to a 5-year aftercare program to ensure that most transplanted trees survive and do well.  Trees damaged during construction will also receive aftercare to resolve their injuries (cost = $34,000).  Some trees designated for transplanting have already been relocated within the Park, and others are being stored for later use at the Park Greenhouse.

Residents who wish to be notified of upcoming changes to the Park can sign up for alerts on the Park website (see <http://www.jekyllislandauthority.org/Alerts.aspx>).

Hooks noted that the Twentieth Century Fox moviemakers have lodged 60 new workers in the Park; the number may rise to 100 soon.  During filming on the north end, TCF will rent a portion of the golf-course parking lot for equipment storage.

The courts at the Park's Tennis Center will be resurfaced during early December.  Hooks described the resurfacing as long overdue; it has been brought up on the priority list by an anonymous donor, who is providing half of the funding.

Ninety-eight percent of the Park's residential leaseholders have signed the new leases.  Seven residents have formally declined to sign the new leases, and 5 continue to be undecided.  The deadline for submission of leases that have been recorded by Glynn County is 31 December 2010.

Hooks observed that a new eatery (Doc's Snack Shop) is expected to be open by 1 December in the Historic District, and it will be able to accommodate hungry conventioneers.

Buddy DeLoach asked about the planned public meetings of the Conservation Plan Committee – will the public be able to see a draft of the proposed plan to review?  Answer:  components of the plan will be made available at the next meeting (1 December), and the final version will be presented at a subsequent public meeting for input.

CHAIRMAN'S COMMENTS:

Chairman Krueger announced that the 2011 Board meeting dates will be on the third Monday of each month, unless there are conflicts with that timing.

A resident, who stated that he owned a large boat, inquired about the potential dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway, which has become much shallower over the years.  Krueger stated that the cost is projected to come to $3 million, an amount that is not currently available, but the Park Authority is seeking to get this job done.

Joe Malbasa noted that many local artisans have obtained jobs in the Park with the new construction.  Malbasa thanked the Authority for allowing residents to collect unwanted plants and pavers from the Convention Center site.  He thanked the Park Authority for the rehabilitation of the historic Morgan Center.

Frank Mirasola inquired about the remediation plans for the TCF movie-shooting site just south of the Beachview Shops?  Answer (Director Hooks): extensive photos were taken by TCF personnel, to ensure that the site is properly restored.  Answer (Spud Woodward): the letter of permission that authorized the TCF activity on the beachfront requires Environmental Services, Incorporated, working for TCF, to restore the beachfront according to a written plan.  The plan is multi-tiered, depending on the nature of the movie-making disturbance to the beachfront.  A financial reserve was required from TCF to ensure that remediation does take place.  The Coastal Resources Division (CRD) of DNR is examining the prospect of enhancing the beachfront after the movie shoot, by restoring the secondary dunes that were once present there (prior to the bulldozing performed many years ago).  Mirasola asked whether the public could review the remediation plan?  Answer: it is in the letter of permission, which is a public document.  Mirasola suggested that enhanced remediation could include moving of more northerly beach-accesses to the movie-making site, where they would not be submerged for lengthy periods (at their beach entrances) at high tide.  Woodward welcomed ideas of this nature, which could be submitted to him at CRD.

Pat Overholt described the multiple positive effects of the remediations done by the moviemakers of the movie Glory, which was filmed some years ago in the Park.

Chairman Krueger adjourned the meeting at 10:42 AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Steven Y. Newell, Jekyll Island Citizens Association