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Public Opinion on Jekyll's Redevelopment

I prefer that the state maintain the more rustic, environmentally friendly current state of Jekyll, than the proposed upscale development to make it a major tourist and resort attraction. In addition to the damage the development would do to the island, the population that the development would attract would create yet another at-risk seaside community that the rest of the population would have to support through infrastructure costs and high insurance rates for the entire state (in effect, repeating the mistakes that Florida has made).
Ed Sandor, Athens, GA

As a retired teacher who has seen many schoolchildren from all across several states use Jekyll Island as their outdoor science classroom, I cannot find any reason to limit the nature available to all on Jekyll Island in favor of developers and affluent families who want to turn our fabulous island resource into just another high end beachfront community.
As a Georgia taxpayer, I don't want to pay for building the TSC.
I count on the wisdom of our legislators to look one, two and three generations ahead on this important question, and preserve the resource Jekyll Island is for all of us.
Marcia Klenbort, Retired Teacher, Atlanta, GA
Volunteer teacher now with the Atlanta Audubon Society.

Leave Jekyll Island alone! It is perfect as is. We go their every month as it is one of the few places left on the coast that is mostly just beach and nature. These plans will ruin Jekyll forever and serve no purpose outside of making a few people more rich than they already are.
Stop the insanity! NOBODY that visits Jekyll Island wants any part of these proposals. Listen to the public for a change.
Kevin Strasser, Brunswick, GA

I have visited Jekyll Island a lot and don't want to see expensive condos go up. My husband & I and our two kids went there every year while they were growing up and my husband and I stayed on our anniversary's.
I live about 3½ hours north of Jekyll near Augusta . My beach of choice of the many available along the southeast coast is, and always will be, Jekyll Island . My family chooses to spend our beach visits on Jekyll. We also visit Jekyll for day trips or weekend getaways throughout the year. We love to collect shells on the nearly deserted south end. We love to explore the drift wood beach on the north end and walk throughout the trails and roads. The most appealing aspect of Jekyll Island is the ABSENCE of rows of high rise condominiums that take away from the natural beauty of what Jekyll has to offer.
I agree with the JIA that improvements are needed in the public areas. I do NOT agree that the proposed town center with high-priced condominiums and lodging is the only solution. Please downscale this town center to be more accessible (i.e. affordable) to the general public--the people who have visited and loved Jekyll Island the way she has always been. In my opinion, Jekyll Island is truly one of God's most wonderful creations. Please do not destroy this Jewel in name of progress.
Diane Edmonds, Waynesboro, GA

I feel taking away beach access, environments of animals etc. does not leave a better place for our children. Even with Green Building and BMP Practices, you are taking away a vital natural resource. I am not against development, just this location. Leave the beach and the wildlife, fix the hotels that are there and locate the Town Center somewhere else.
Yvette Jones, no address

Adding such a complex would destroy the delicate balance of the wildlife of the park, as well as completely lose sight of why the park was founded in the first place. It would be an atrocity and should be fought.
Matthew John Kacergis, Marietta, GA

As a descendant of Torkel "Chips" Torkelson, the head carpenter on Jekyll Island during its millionaire era, I take strong objection to the island returning to the status of a rich person's playground. My great grandfather died there, as did two of my great aunts (in infancy). The family left after the death of Chips, but two of my great uncles died young from the TB they contracted while living on Jekyll. My family of servants gave much - too much. When the millionaires abandoned their little Eden, the island reverted to the good State of Georgia, which has striven valiantly to make it something of a showcase. However, there is already too much development on the island for my likes. Adding this monstrous new "village" will completely alter the character of one of the last under-built islands on the East Coast.
Do we want Jekyll to be another Miami Beach or Jersey Shore? Yes, tax money will flow in and the island will blossom with new curbs, sidewalks, and sewers. But at what cost? And since when have our State parks become involved in real estate developments of this size and scope? Keep it small, or lose one of the last remaining jewels in Georgia's crown.
Robert Carter, Atlanta, GA

We continue to be amazed that the Linger Longer proposal was accepted when they did not follow the guidelines! We were also unpleasantly surprised to see that the clear intent of the legislature to keep Jekyll for the 'common' folk has been ignored. This boggles the mind and appears to be politics as usual. How discouraging.
Carolyn and Kenneth Kee, Atlanta, GA

The LLC's plan is too big, too high, too expensive, and much of it unnecessary. Yes I think we need to rebuild the hotels that were torn down. Only 1 hotel should be torn down at a time in the future. Yes we need a new convention center and put it in the center of the island. We do not need a condo area with lots of shops especially not beach front! The beach needs to stay light and noise free to encourage the sea turtles to next on Jekyll. Some nice restaurants in place of where the old civic center would be ok, but no need for condos and shops there. Shopping does not need to be beach front and we do not need any more condos on Jekyll.
The height of any new structure needs to be able to use our current fire truck. We do not want any high rise buildings on Jekyll. The public parking lots are fine. Yes impervious paving would be better and can be installed once the asphalt starts cracking bad, but no need to tear out now. Please preserve Jekyll for future generations. Thanks for everything you do.
Peggy and Ron Cline, Rockmart, GA

The scale and type of development being proposed are not in the best interests of Jekyll Island State Park. It will be detrimental to the wildlife habitats that the park was established to protect. It will also make the park less accessible
to the general public for whom it was dedicated.
My family has enjoyed vacations there for over 40 years. My children were introduced to the wildlife and ecology through school trips. It was there that they learned to appreciate and protect nature.
Please keep the beach open to the public and not just available to upper income families. Do not eliminate oceanfront public parking lots. Do not eliminate affordable hotel rooms.
Protect this unique, very beautiful state park!
Judy Cunningham, Tucker, GA

Keep this area undeveloped long as possible, time will let us know if the current developments are environmentally healthy and allow technologic development of less injurious building.
CM Mulligan, Savannah, GA

Jekyll Island is one of our State treasures. I oppose the proposal for this mega development, especially that tax dollars be used to finance over $80,000,000. for the streets and sewer systems. This is abominable!!!!! The future children of Georgia MUST have the opportunity to walk on the natural sand and to sit near the water to listen for all the wonderful beach sounds. Thank you for your leadership in this effort to Save Jekyll!!!
Burrelle S. Meeks, Lilburn, GA

This is the sixth winter we have spent on Jekyll Island Campground and have reservations for the next 3 years. We first went to Florida and didn't find a place that wasn't overcrowded. We went to Amelia Island, Marco Island, and Ann Marie Island drove most of the island and never saw the water. Once we found Jekyll Island we knew we found someplace special. The people of the island, the business people all treat you so well and make you feel at home. With the tight real estate marked and all the empty condos in Florida why would they sell on Jekyll Island and how many average people can pay for a home and a condo. Update what you have but don't overcrowd.
Frank & Martha Cuff, Lake Linden, MI

This is a beautiful island that has as its appeal the rustic charm of the state park and less traffic than other near islands. If people want exclusive condos and hotels let them go to the other resorts in the area, like St. Simons, or to Hilton Head, SC. Is it always about the money??? Please keep Jekyll unspoiled by development.
Nancy Cardin, Stone Mountain, GA

Georgia has very little public beach left compared to states such as Oregon and Washington. Can't we do better? Must we follow Florida, or South Carolina, or Alabama, and turn every piece of beach access over to development? Jekyll does not need a little "Seaside" town, with a town square, condos, apartments, etc. Please re-think development of this last little piece of ocean front and restore it, if necessary, in an eco-friendly manner so that it will retain its natural beauty.
Mona Freer, Athens, GA

Some of the structures on Jekyll need to be upgraded or updated (such as the convention center) but NOT up scaled. As a nature lover and birder I am opposed to anything that will destroy the natural appeal of Jekyll--to birds, mammals and humans. It should not become an entertainment venue for the well-to-do.
Theda Davis, Lilburn, GA

The JIA should be concerned with the preservation of this fragile ecosystem instead of allowing additional area to be built upon. The renovation of current motels should maintain the current footprint. The children's playground should remain
This amount ($84.5 millions)should be part of LL cost of development by the developer. It will take additional revenue to repay this amount. With a reduced development the infrastructure cost would be greatly reduced. An ecological study by a qualified person such as Orrin Pinkley should be sought prior to submitting for bids a plan for revitalization (not super sizing!!)
Cornelia Brillhart, St. Simons Island, GA

Revitalization and/or SOME new development of AFFORDABLE lodging and dining is all that Jekyll needs. All projects should keep absolute emphasis on avoiding negative impact on environment/ecology.
Patrick and Karen Sammons, Stockbridge, GA

The LLC's plan is too big, too high, too expensive, and much of it unnecessary. Yes I think we need to rebuild the hotels that were torn down. Only 1 hotel should be torn down at a time in the future. Yes we need a new convention center and put it in the center of the island. We do not need a condo area with lots of shops especially not beach front! The beach needs to stay light and noise free to encourage the sea turtles to next on Jekyll. Some nice restaurants in place of where the old civic center would be ok, but no need for condos and shops there. Shopping does not need to be beach front and we do not need any more condos on Jekyll.
The height of any new structure needs to be able to use our current fire truck. We do not want any high rise buildings on Jekyll. The public parking lots are fine. Yes impervious paving would be better and can be installed once the asphalt starts cracking bad, but no need to tear out now. Please preserve Jekyll for future generations. Thanks for everything you do.
Peggy and Ron Cline, Rockmart, GA

The island does need some work done on some of the hotels but to build the things that are proposed will not be good for the island. It will lose so much of its natural beauty and be so overpriced that the average family will not be able to visit. We usually come to Jekyll twice a year because we love the quite beauty of the island. We can afford twice a year because it is within our budget, to go any where else we would be able to afford 1 visit a year. If all of the things are done that are proposed it will be a loss that can not be explained to our children or grandchildren.
Jeanette McClung, Winder,  GA

What I enjoy most about Jekyll Island is all the natural beauty it has to offer. It is truly Georgia's Jewel. I like the fact that it is a quaint island. I don't have to fight bumper to bumper traffic while driving the scenic roads. I love going to the Island to watch the hundreds of species of birds. The Sea Turtle Center is marvelous!!! But, just because we have a place to take care of sick or injured turtles doesn't mean we have to take steps to endanger them all the more. The TSC is going to greatly endanger the turtles with building so close to the beach and the dunes. Are the hotels going to keep the beaches dark at night for the turtles? Are they going to police the dunes to ensure vacationers don't interfere with nesting birds or turtles? Are they going to slow the traffic of thousands of more cars on the causeway to avoid turtle injuries? The bottom line is the local people know and appreciate all Jekyll has to offer and I love it the way it is. I realize the world is a money driven society. Property owners on Jekyll would surely see an increase in the market value of their homes with the TSC. But, I truly feel that everyone has the right to enjoy the Island and all it has to offer, not just big money people. There is no reason why anyone local should have to walk half a mile to go enjoy the beach.
Debbie Mumford, Brunswick, GA

NO to the Linger Longer plan. Jekyll Island belongs to Georgians and development to line the pockets of "fat cats" is a sin.
Watson L and Minka M. Davis, Chamblee, GA

I would like to know who is directly responsible for turning the "need for renovation" into a free for all for developers, but besides that point, if people want to see and overdeveloped barrier island, they have St Simons or Hilton Head--where will we get another place like Jekyll? I say eliminate a lot, and renovate some, and replace with nature-centered accommodations. LLC has made Lake Oconee absolutely unaffordable, and it will have traffic like Gwinnett County if they ever get finished with all their proposed phases. They market their properties to people outside of the state of Georgia--the area around Lake Oconee sounds like you're in New York, where apparently, nobody wants to stay. The state rep's who brokered this deal have completely sold us out for pure profit, and have no regard of the environmental concerns except to acknowledge them as required to remain politically viable.
Taxpaying citizen and registered voter,
Laura E. Carmichael, Gainesville, GA

Personally, I feel there are too many people on the island as it is. The State Park is the only area of the island left that contains any form of natural tranquility and serenity. Let's be frank: the development of the proposed Town Square Center is only a money-making venture for the developer and for the government to increase its tax base and revenues. It is not at all based on fulfillment of any need for the public. It's sad to see anyone even consider taking such a naturally beautiful environment and "Jerseying" it into a series of parking lots, condos, and strip malls... It would then look like most everywhere else I go and I would no longer return. I guarantee it.
Michael Cook, Lilburn, GA

There needs to be no further commercialization of Jekyll. It's beautiful as it is. The ecosystem needs to be left intact. Developers are all about the last penny of every dollar and have no conscience regarding nature or public access.
Let the developers develop in Florida, the rich can always go to Hilton Head or Florida or St Thomas, we the public citizens of GA love Jekyll. Just as it is!!
Phil Watson, no address

I am very concerned about the water and sewer system needs that would be required to support Linger Longer's proposal. Jekyll Island is my home and this proposal would change the entire character of our beautiful Island.
It frightens me to think of how our Wildlife would be affected by this grandiose plan/scheme-birds, turtles, rabbits, snakes, etc.
This Island is now designated AN IMPORTANT BIRDING AREA, and brings many birders from all parts of the country as well as foreign countries. Should this plan be implemented, I don't think it would continue to be designated AN IMPORTANT BIRDING AREA.
Marjorie J. Clark, Jekyll Island, GA

I am sickened by the greed here. We LOVE the island. It is the only place where the ocean can be enjoyed in a natural state. My state taxes should NOT be helping pay for this. Jekyll should always remain a quiet, natural, protected island. Not everyone thinks that more is better. It is outright destruction and a sin. My lord- what will GA have left?
Douglas and Vickilynn Brunskill, Richmond Hill, GA

The beachfront at Jekyll Island is the only available ocean access for most of the population of GA. Tybee Island, St. Simon's and Sea island are already taken up by the rich who can afford these type of constructions. Currently, any GA resident can go to Jekyll and spend a day at the beach without having to walk two miles to the water. Look at what has happened to Fernandina beach. You can't even tell there is an ocean there unless you have private access. There should be at least one beach left that belongs to everyone. It is also important to conserve these areas since most of our wetlands are being taken in by construction. The EPA is supposed to protect them too, but money always wins over any conservation.
Amber Tuten, Blackshear, GA

It's absurd to take a state park and attempt to turn it into a high-end facility as proposed by LLC. A more subdued and affordable-to-the-average-citizen revamping of current facilities would be more in order, should be much less expensive, and still be able to entice the tourism that the JI Authority and LLC seem to feel is needed. While I agree that some of the current facilities need renovation, the wholesale destruction and revamping of the corridor is totally unnecessary.
Ed Shelnutt, Watkinsville, GA

Please keep Jekyll a natural and beautiful beach everyone can afford!
Michelle Wetherford, Colbert, GA

Thank you for your hard work and the immense amount of time you've devoted to this endeavor. I pray that your efforts will be successful and that Linger Longer's proposal will be sent back to the drawing board. I do wish that the existing hotel accommodations on Jekyll Island could be rebuilt and refreshed in keeping with the style and price-range that exist. We have had difficulty in making reservations for the two weekends a year we spend on Jekyll: The Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival and the Youth Birding Competition. Wish there were more hotel rooms, but not where Linger Longer proposes them. This is the only vehicle-accessible beachfront in Georgia that offers a beautiful, unobstructed view while driving Beachfront Drive or just walking down the beach. The only other beaches are much harder to access, i.e. Sapelo and Cumberland Islands. Why couldn't they build hotels on the interior of the island, not on the beach? I wouldn't want a lot of new hotels, but enough to satisfy a reasonable demand from visitors. Thanks again!
Rachel Simmons, Watkinsville, GA

My family has plans to come there this summer. We love it like it is. Like the sign says its Georgia's treasure. I don't know of a beach anywhere in the southern US that is so peaceful and relaxing. My husband is from Pennsylvania. We have been married for 8 years. Every year at vacation time I would mention Jekyll and he would say no. When I finally convinced him to go, he said " Why didn't you tell me it was like this?". It will remain our yearly vacation get away as long as it remains the same. It could use some new motels, but not time shares or condos. We walk along the beach and look at St. Simons.....and are thankful that we are at Jekyll. Last year my 3 year old daughter was able to see dolphins from the beach and I was able to relax in the sun and not worry about thousands of people crowding the beach. Every one that was there on the beach was just like us, families that had come there because Jekyll is what it is.
Anonymous

Jekyll Island should be maintained as an affordable, family-oriented beach community with minimal new high density development allowed. It is recognized that some of the existing structures require renovation, modernization, and updates, but should be accomplished with minimal impact on the current charm and flavor of the island and optimal consideration for preservation of the environment to include turtle nesting areas, coastal birding nesting areas and habitats, and clean waterways. It would be a big mistake to allow massive development with increased commercialization and density of structures. Don't allow some of the mistakes and poor planning that has occurred on Tybee Island!
Janice Bentley, Tybee Island, GA

Jekyll is one of the few remaining natural environments on coastal Georgia. I oppose development of this State owned property for the enrichment of a few wealthy people at the expense of the working people of Georgia. Jekyll needs new hotels and improved eating facilities, but these need to be affordable for average working Georgians. I believe that developers have wielded too much influence with the Jekyll Island Authority to enrich themselves (the developers and the JI Authority). The State Legislature should dictate what maximum prices can be charged to keep the Island available to every citizen of the State. We do not need another St Simons Island. We already have one.
Robert D. Waldrop, Lilburn, GA

I am glad that someone is fighting for the right to keep Georgia's favorite island a quiet and friendly vacation place. I grew up loving the island for it's peaceful non-commercial environment and the fact that the natural surroundings are being kept from harm. I would not be able to share the wonderful island with my family if a project like that were to take place; the cost of vacationing there would be out of our price range for sure.
Helen Christina Sizemore, loganville, GA

He/they with the most money wins? Just say NO!
They're not making any more beach on Jekyll, so don't let them sell it out from under the families who have grown to love her and all that she offers.
Those who want a pricey playground can go down the road to Disney World.
Abbie A. Bazella, Cleveland, GA

There are many things about Jekyll Island that must be preserved including its pristine beauty, lack of traffic congestion, affordability for families, and the fact that it is a state park!
Teresa L. Rutledge, Lilburn, GA

I understand that Jekyll's hotels may have been a little run down and would be in need of updating, but to change the entire island into a new Destin type location is just wrong. I have been going to Jekyll for years, often renting a house for a week. Why in the world would we need to reroute Beachview Dr? Jekyll should be protected with very little new development.
Paula Hammac, Marietta, GA

The sheer beauty of Jekyll Island is that it is for the people . . . regular people. No gated communities, freedom to bike on the ocean, campgrounds that make visiting affordable.
It's a trip back to the good old days. I can see that the convention center and small business district needs to be upgraded and expanded, but it needs to be inclusive and not exclusive.
Anonymous

Please leave one of the most pristine beach areas alone!! Jekyll is one of the rare places that is still beautiful and unencumbered by a large amount of tourists. if we want to be in that type of environment we can ride 5 miles up the road to St. Simons or Sea Island. Who wants this besides the money hungry beauracracy? Get real and listen for once to what the people who live here have to say!! Leave us alone!
Traci Page, Decatur, GA

All over GA and the US, we can find beach and resort areas that are overcrowded, overpriced, damaging to the environment and transfer additional financial burden to the taxpayer. We can use most of the Florida beach areas as an example of commercialism devoid of environmental concerns. Jekyll Island is one of the few places that my family will consider going to relax, commune with nature and history and leave behind the excessive commercialism to be found in most other places. We have always been proud to bring our friends to this beautiful example of a state park that remains true to nature and affordable to the average family.
I am thoroughly disgusted by the Linger Longer proposal. There is an appropriate market & place for their upscale, "stepford wife" communities like Reynolds Plantation...but it is not on Jekyll Island!
Viviana Brantley, Atlanta, GA

My parents grew up in Brunswick and Jekyll Island was a yearly trip, sometimes multiple times, for my family. We lived a very modest life in Metro Atlanta, probably lower-middle class, but Jekyll Island was a place where we could go and enjoy the beach with all it's beautiful, natural surroundings. The parking lots were ALWAYS full of cars, cars of people who were there to enjoy the beauty without the glitz. I still travel down at least once a year to visit my 93 year old Great Grandfather. I introduced my husband (who moved to GA when he was 8) to Jekyll Island the year before we were married and now every visit he insists we drive around and either go to the beach or stop and read all of the History markers throughout the island. PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS AWAY FROM US OR THE REST OF THE THOUSANDS OF VISITORS WHO JUST WANT A TRANQUIL BEACH AND IT'S HISTORY NOT MONEY THROWN IN THEIR FACES EVERYWHERE THEY GO!!!!
Heather McElroy, Athens, GA

We love Jekyll Island the way it is. Would like the existing properties to be refurbished including the Convention Center. We like the new Turtle Center and we love the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and the Historic area. Would also like more sand added to the beach.
Charles and Shirley Weiksner, no address

A face lift would be desired for the island. Lets keep the environment and ecology intact. This is the age of reduce, reuse and recycle, it is time for the governing body of the state to be welcomed into the future of saving our island, state and planet.
Marie Wetzel, Snellville, GA

Jekyll Island was bought by the State of Georgia to be for the people of Georgia. It is refreshing to go to Jekyll and experience "low density" on the beach front and experience the beach of a by gone era. The JIA proposal would negatively impact the fragile ecosystems of the ocean, beach and marsh. As Georgians we must stop this type of expansive development on Jekyll Island.
Brandy Aycock, Clarkesville, GA

I've lived in Georgia all of my life and the one place that my parents shared with me each and every year since I was a young child has been Jekyll Island. I am now in my late 40s and have had the opportunity to share the same history and beauty of the island with my family and friends almost annually. The history and beauty of this beach side gem should be preserved at all costs and should remain relatively undeveloped. Jekyll Island's beauty and charm are unmatched and are a reminder of Georgia’s and America’s years past. Developing the island would be detrimental to the surrounding environment and to American history in general.
Question: Why would we allow an area such as Jekyll Island fall to mass development knowing the history and importance that it has served the citizens of Georgia throughout multiple eras of war time and prosperity?
I have not heard or seen where this plan has been introduced to the Georgia legislature. Can you direct me to a site that will give me any information regarding legislative votes and the results?
Please keep me updated with any new developments.
Regards,
John Horlock, Lawreneville, GA

I grew up visiting Jekyll Island as a child with my family...sometimes camping and sometimes renting beach cottages. I had moved out of state and not been to Jekyll for almost 20 years and was "thrilled" when I came back home, visited Jekyll and saw that it had not been developed into another "Hilton Head" snob resort. I strongly oppose the development that is underway as it will absolutely make Jekyll out of reach for me and my family.......not to mention that even if we were to stay on the mainland and visit the island by day....we would be hard pressed to find parking and access to the beaches (exactly the current situation on Hilton Head. Corrupt politicians and developers will be the only ones that can "afford" homes and condos and hotels on the "developed" island...not average, middle income Georgians such as myself.
Carol McDermott, Tucker, GA

In a time of global warming and rising tides, we develop beach fronts; in a time of drought, we invite more use of the precious island water supply; in a time of rising energy costs, we add big energy users and count on tourists arriving by car; in a time of a fragile economy and a tanking dollar, we build new shopping centers to attract big tourist
dollars; and in a time when of our loggerhead turtles are more and more threatened, we add more lighting for development just behind the beach. None of this makes any sense!!!`` Why has there been no environmental impact study and review period?
I'm sorry I can't make it to the meeting today, but hope my comments will still count.
Rebecca Bell, Jekyll Island, GA

I am applaud at the idea of developing Jekyll island. It is one island where the beauty of the beach still remains. It is a place where nature can be observed and appreciated. As a teenager, it is the beach I prefer to go to since there is not many people. There is an atmosphere at Jekyll that promotes togetherness of families; that is something that should not being taken away. Also, once again nature, the turtles, are being put at harm. Do not forget about them. Also if you start developing, it will not end. This development will lead to an island that is unlike the island I know. If the proposed development is going to happen, most of the people that currently visit Jekyll will not be able to visit since the prices will be beyond that of the average person. I understand the idea of gaining more money but this is not the way to do it. Economics so often interferes with the history, environment, and character of an area. If this development takes place, the beach will begin to erode, it will not be able to stop. Many beaches experience the problem of beach erosion. Have the people who are proposing this development thought about the costs to reverse this beach erosion, or do they not care about that since their time may pass before they have to deal with it. I am also concerned about the possibility of losing the miniature golf area. That is a great spot for families to interact together. My family went to Jekyll this past summer and enjoyed spending time at the miniature golf. In a world that is always on the go and rarely stops to spend time with family, Jekyll is the perfect spot to recapture that. I write this to say that I would hate to see Jekyll developed and would like to know of ways I can help to prevent that from happening. Also if there is any more information I can have on this area, that would be great.
Lorin Sullivan, Macon, GA

This is an absolutely ridiculous use of one of our States natural resources and beautiful places.  Do we want condos on every available spot?  and there is absolutely no reason the state of Georgia should be giving this company the tax breaks to ruin such a wonderful naturally beautiful spot.  Do they think they need the tax breaks because  no one can afford their development?  If that is so, why are they building a development we cannot afford?  Someone in government is either taking advantage of their position and ignoring the tax payer or / and are getting a payoff on the side!
Nancy Skinner, no address

This type of development will absolutely destroy the beauty and peacefulness of Jekyll Island.  It does not need additional condos or timeshares, or for that matter, hundreds of additional hotel rooms.  I can certainly see the need to upgrade some of the current hotels, but anything else will ruin the uniqueness of Jekyll Island.  We have been lucky  enough to have been coming there for 40 years and have watched it change over the years.  However the addition of "Ski Rixon" (long gone), the water park, even the soccer fields and the improvements to the historic district did not detract from the wonderful open beaches, bike paths, golf courses surrounded by nature (not condos), and the view of the ocean from the road.  The environmental impact on the dunes, the turtles and other wildlife with this plan would be severe.
We live in SC, however our second home is on SSI.  We did choose to purchase in an area with condos available, however most of our time is spent on the golf courses and beaches at Jekyll. Jekyll cannot handle thousands more people and retain its grandeur.  Please don't destroy one of the few natural places left for more unnecessary development.
Deborah and Dave Morrison, SSI, GA

I love Jekyll Island precisely because it has none of what the developers want to do to it.  Jekyll remains neighborhood and family and safe and quiet and all of things most of us who aren't earning a super-sized fortune want to have when we finally get some time for R & R.  I don't want something that looks like St Simons or Hilton Head.  They are no longer user- friendly, at least not for that segment of the citizenry that is the bulwark of the economy.  I invite all of the folks interested in what is being proposed to fill their tanks and head north to Hilton Head or to simply take the other causeway here and be buffeted by the traffic and the lines at the grocery store and the lack of beach they will find.  If that's what they need, it's already been done.
I'm a New England transplant and I saw what happened to the Mass. shore line once the developers found their way in.  We all waited for the season to end.  Here, we don't have the luxury of season -it's quite pleasant here all the time, therefore, we can't wave a fond farewell to the trespassers and take our lives back. 
Keep Jekyll as harmonious as it is.
Dale M. Tushman, Brunswick, GA

People owning condo's in these type of developments is odd, since there are so many other islands/areas to go for that type of ownership opportunity.  Most of the condos will go unoccupied the majority of the time.  It would be a shame for all the "good" places to be sold and then unoccupied.
Dennis & Felicia McCoy, Marietta, GA

If the state of Georgia legislators are willing to vote for this type of Jekyll Island, please make a list of their names and addresses so that we may call them directly and challenge them on this. Their job is not to enhance their political contributions from corporations like LLC but to do what they were elected for. They need to be totally cognizant of what the citizens of Georgia want and what better way than about 5000 phone calls.
Also who in the hell gave them the right to spend public money to assist private out of state companies to build condos? If they were creating better paying jobs putting a "job creating" manufacturing or services business in an industrial park then more power to the state for doing their job.
In this case it is disgusting to even consider destroying the essence of what Jekyll is all about and what is available to all citizens. Let them go to St. Simons to see what an over populated seaside traffic jam looks like. 
John Downie, Bogart, GA

The only development necessary on Jekyll Island is the renovation of existing hotels as required in the SAME CONFIGURATION AS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED, and the rebuilding of hotels already torn down in the SAME CONFIGURATION AS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED. NOTHING should be done to the south end of the island.
Patrick J. McCoy, Marietta, GA

Improvements are needed in accommodations leading toward South end.  My question, what steps are being taken to clear beaches of black build-up from King Avenue going north to Drift Wood Beach.  The black build-up is moving south on the beach.  Leave Jekyll Island alone except for improvement on the beach.  Our State government should really investigate the purposed changes.
Betty Copelan, Forsyth, GA

Save the "peoples" island while protecting the environment and the experience for our children!
Jan Dunaway, Ron and Alexis Powers, Stone Mountain, GA

We just returned from a week on the Island. We like it just the way that it is, although we understand that perhaps some change MAY be necessary to support a continuing tourism economy on Jekyll. However, we really don't know much about this aspect of the issue. Certainly, the Linger Longer proposal seems to be going in the wrong direction.
Phil Novinger, Athens, GA

It is my belief that the interests of private developers are the driving force behind the development of Jekyll Island. It is the pursuit of money, not the interests of the ordinary citizen, nor the preservation of a place of beauty, that is the reason for all the proposed changes to this state park.
Elizabeth McLeod De Backer, Savannah, GA

I believe that there is already too much development on the island. It should be maintained in its current state.
Malcolm & Priscilla Sumner, Watkinsville, GA

I favor only upgrading existing hotels and convention center, perhaps replacing one of the hotels that has been recently razed, and upgrading infrastructure. Strongly favor NO development of the south end, and continuation of conservation plans and efforts for all of Jekyll's natural areas.
Carl Runge, Williston, VT

We feel the end result of the proposals will have a negative impact on the island. Why not rebuild or renovate the current hotels and rebuild those that have been taken down, then see if you can keep them filled with tourists at peak periods and get repeat tourism year after year. Also keep all hotels away from the beach so lights "lumens" don't interfere with turtles breeding and hatching on beach. You have a terrific turtle center on the island, make good use of it. It is a prime tourism center.
The area you want to build hotels on is the only area that has any beach left during high tide times. Furthermore this building you plan to do would be a major disturbance of the dunes and environment. We think this whole idea of Linger Longer is ludicrous.
Carson and Betty Spurlock, Bainbridge, NY

We recognize and accept the fact that Jekyll Island needs to be refurbished to be more in keeping with today's consumer. Better accommodation, some more shopping facilities, upgraded restaurants are needs we perceive.
But the Linger Longer proposal would demolish the unique character of Georgia's Jewel.
There must be another alternative!
Ray and Yvonne Stanton, Stratford, ON. Canada.

Jekyll needs new hotels and motels but no further construction. It must be saved as a complete Island State Park. There is enough development on St. Simons. Please protect Jekyll Island as is.
Judy Strobel, Tyrone, NY

Jekyll Island is a unique place on the Atlantic coast, a combination of family friendly housing and nature. Beach front should be available to all, with ongoing protection of dunes.
Nancy Grove, Tampa, FL

I am uncertain about what would be best re question 10 about the proposed town square center. I can understand the need for renovation but hate to see the beach front utilized that way.
Cecilia Schweizer, North Canton, OH

I am amazed at how far out of control this has become. This group of individuals is taking an absolutely beautiful and pristine area and making it into another St. Simon's Island. Why do the wealthy people make most of the decisions in this world when they are not the majority? I find it fascinating that not only is this not supported by the majority of Georgians (per the e-mail's accompanying article) but they are probably going to have to pay for this destruction to make way for another rich playground (question #9). Unbelievable.
Elisa O'Grady, Schenectady, NY

Jekyll Island is unique example of public beach area which is quickly disappearing to the greed of the developer. You only have to go to Florida to learn a valuable lesson how leaders who disrespect the public allow developers to exploit public lands. Jekyll Island should be left as it is or even more primitive if possible.
Sam Mack, Tarpon Springs, FL


All of the proposed changes to Jekyll would change the whole environment and feel of the island.  People that come to visit Jekyll do so to enjoy the natural beauty and seclusion, if they wanted condos and town centers and over crowded beaches then they would drive on down the coast to Florida. 
Erica Johnson, Comer, Georgia

I think that the park should remain a natural area in all the areas that are now natural areas.  I think that the undeveloped public beach areas should remain undeveloped public beach areas (new or maintaining of restrooms, handicap access ramps etc. are OK "development").  I think that wildlife habitat, dune formation for shore protection etc., should be the foremost consideration in protecting all undeveloped areas.
Kim Brewer, Brunswick, GA

My family spent a weekend at the Sea Palms Inn on St. Simons.  Road construction was horrible. Two times while driving slowly to enjoy the scenery cars honked.  Traffic was unreal.  My wife suggested that we leave and spend the last morning of our vacation on Jekyll Island. We were able to visit the beach for three hours and spent$50. Had the proposed town square been built, we would have been denied free access to any beach and would left the Georgia coast without ever touching salt water or building castles in the sand. Before leaving, we drove by the Holiday Inn. It was our favorite hotel in Georgia. All we saw was a fence around a vacant lot that said, "No Trespassing." Jekyll was OUR Island and the Holiday Inn was OUR hotel. I was hurt and livid. My children said that rich people are taking away our freedom. I must confess it feels that way.  As one of the few remaining members of the middle class, I ask that you not make another St. Simons out of Jekyll.
          David Self, Milledgeville, GA

         Our family started vacationing at Jekyll Island 16 years ago when my husband and I took our three children and son-in-law there on a vacation.  We fell in love with island.  It's quiet and affordable.  At least once a year, we continue to host our extended family vacation for a week at Jekyll.  Our immediate extended family now includes those original 3 birth children and son-in-law plus four adopted children, a daughter-in-law, two more sons-in-law and 10 grandchildren.  Right after Christmas, our older grandchildren start asking us when we are going to Jekyll.  It is the highlight of their summers.  Each time we have adopted a child, we have taken the child on a family vacation to Jekyll to get to know the family.  It is a wonderful place to escape to and just enjoy nature. 
If this development goes through, we won't be able to vacation there.  The cost will be way too much for that many people and there will be no quiet. It saddens me to think that money and greed may take over this wonderful vacation spot.
         Linda Basinger, Athens, GA

Jekyll Island is a beautiful, natural state park that is fine as it is.  My family goes on vacation at least once per year on this Island and we enjoy that it is not over-crowded and over-developed like so many other islands.  We are in a time of recession and war, we do not need to be spending needlessly on a vacation resort that would ruin the environment of one of our dearest Island Jewels.  Please, please do not waste our tax money on something this destructive and useless.
         Melissa B. Green, Athens, GA

          I think that $84.5 million could best be used to help preserve the Island as it is and to build a new convention center more attractive than the present one.  I strongly agree that more people would negatively affect the environment. I first visited Jekyll Island in 1950 as a child.  We had to go from Brunswick by boat and stayed in the old Jekyll Island Hotel with all of its original furnishings.  It was really a fascinating trip.  I think that Jekyll has been developed enough as it is.  By renovating the existing motels, etc. there should be plenty of space available for visitors.  I don't think Jekyll should be developed to make developers richer and spoil the natural beauty of the island. The present old convention center could possibly be moved or replaced.  Basically I say preserve the island and keep the developers away.  Too many people will turn it into another St. Simons Island.  Good luck on preservation of the island. 
         John A. Brown, Savannah, GA

         Although I am not a resident of Jekyll Island or GA., I have been coming here for vacation nearly once a year for the past 17 years. My husband and I first came here for our 5th wedding anniversary and are here again for our 22nd. The reason we love it here so much and come again and again is the non-commercial beaches, the wildlife, the open spaces. We love to stroll the open expanse of beach with no condo's and no hotels to mar the view. I feel that there should be hotels built to replace the ones which were torn down, but that nothing should be over 2 stories high. In fact, we thought there was an ordinance in effect regarding the height of buildings already? Also they should be reasonably priced ones, not high end. Other than that, I feel the existing structures should be renovated and parking lots, streets, mini-golf, etc be left as they are. We don't like the water park being here as it seems out of place here, but since it is not usually open when we are here  and is in an out of the way area, it is easy to ignore and avoid.  I feel that the construction as outlined above would totally destroy the ambiance of the Island and if such "destruction" is undertaken, I will probably never come back as I do not want to see it. We had not heard about this plan until we came this year for our Anniversary...this is not just a Jekyll Island or a Georgia issue...but an issue for all of us visitors who come back year after year to a place we love and call "home" when here. We would love to be able to retire here someday, but not if the Island is changed so drastically.
         Sharon Hiley Antel, Wheeling, WV

        When my husband and I first drove onto the island two years ago, we fell in love with it instantly.  It was calm, low-key, unspoiled, serene, and beautiful.  I knew that I would want to return to the island again and again to visit a beach unspoiled by the rampant modernizations that drove us away from Myrtle Beach and, simply, to refresh my soul in a place that captured my heart.  We were incredibly dismayed to find, on our next visit just two months later, that plans were in the works to "update" and "revitalize" the island.  Such plans inevitably lead to a gentrification that destroys any character the unfortunate recipients of such "modernization"
may have had.  Do away with the miniature golf course?  (We played at that course on our honeymoon.  Where will families take their kids on long summer evenings after a day at the beach?)  Take away Blackbeard's?  (We ate there the night before our wedding.)  Remove Beachview Dr.? (This is a travesty!  This will destroy the view that took our breath away on our first visit!) Not to mention what all this will do for the nesting sea turtles!  Has anyone addressed this?  Do the developers have plans to protect them?
         These are not plans that will improve the island.  Rather, they are plans that will improve the bottom line for the developers and that will ruin what is already perfect.
         Julie Hornick, Summerville, SC

           I have been going to Jekyll Island since I was 7th months old every summer. I am now 20 years old. My family has been going there for over 50 years. When I was little, my grandfather used to tell me he founded that island and I actually believed him. The reason I did was because it was not commercial like most islands. His name is Billy Henderson and is well known in that area. He is the one who started our summer tradition of going to Jekyll. It hurts his heart to think of what might happen to the island he "discovered". The historic Island has too many memories to be erased with large structures for people who might not even appreciate the great history of Jekyll Island. Also, more people might damage the beautiful ecosystem there which would break my and everyone’s heart. My family and I love Jekyll Island with all our hearts and love its secluded Island atmosphere which puts you so in touch with the nature there. SAVE JEKYLL ISLAND!!!
         Zach and Billy Henderson, Bogart, GA

          I strongly disapprove of a development of this scale on Jekyll Island. Something of this size could disrupt one of the last natural ecosystems on the Atlantic coast.  Jekyll is an island for the people and that should remain.  Jekyll Island has been a part of my life and it would crush me to see such a wonderful and natural environment disappear.
         Adam Crews, Athens, GA

         The people appointed to the JIA seem to have lost touch with reality insofar as what ordinary Georgians can afford.  Let's rebuild the hotels that are located there and leave the Hilton Head and panhandle development atmosphere alone.  I am very disappointed that my senator George Hooks has supported these development plans and am wondering how many of those supporters are looking forward to their condos.
         Tom and Nell Holman, Americus, GA

We have just moved to the area from Sedona, Arizona, and went to Jekyll Island for the first time last week. We absolutely LOVED it, and we're telling our friends they have to visit Jekyll. Most of the people we talk to have never even heard of Jekyll Island. Sedona (a place noted the world over for its scenic beauty) is also where we still have our majority business, a popular Internet tourism website for the area www.gatewaytosedona.com. There are more timeshares in Sedona than I can number and expensive lodging places everywhere, but there is also a whole lot of red rock scenery to go around. In Jekyll Island, however there is only one beachfront and developing condos and obstructing properties that change the character of the island or prevent day visitors and tourists from enjoying one of the prettiest beaches in the world will certainly prove to be short sighted. Jekyll Island will do FAR MORE for the state of Georgia over the long term if projects like TSC were vastly scaled back or restricted altogether. The state would benefit financially over the long term as numbers of tourist around the US and abroad discover this island of natural beauty and accessibility and thus plan a visit to the entire Golden Isles area (peripheral tourist spending supports the state and local economy in very substantial ways).
  Tourists already have many lodging options along coastal Georgia, and the entire area benefits from their activities. Georgia can also cultivate a better international reputation, from an environmental standpoint (ultimately advancing tourism income once again), by preserving Jekyll as a state-protected treasure. We're relaunching our other website, www.gatewaytothegoldenisles.com, within the next month with the mission to inform potential tourists the world over about the fabulous Golden Isles of Georgia, of which Jekyll Island is a major part. We hope to play a significant role in helping to keep it beautiful, natural, and a great place for day visitors, tourists, families and future generations.
         Victoria and Chuck Oldham, Darien, GA

          I guess the choice of the question: “Would you support a proposal calling for the proposed town square center to be a condominium-free environment?” would be an alternative to a new town square. I think the shopping center should be upgraded and left where it is. I really don't want a town center as proposed, but it would be better if they plan to do it anyway without condos.
         Susan Ayres, Dublin, GA

          Leave Jekyll's beach front as it is.  Build affordable hotels where former hotels were.  We do not need condos on Jekyll.
Larry Miles, Carrollton, GA

        As a visitor for the last 10 years, and now a recent citizen of the Myrtle Beach area, I believe that the JI area can best be served by keeping to the intent of the donors of the Island. Even though they were the elite of their time, they did not rush to build on the shore and although they built large homes they did not disturb the beauty of the Island.
Do you need redevelopment? Yes. However it should not be done with only money and greed the driving factors. Here in SC we see mile after mile of oceanfront becoming developed, and the result is definitely detrimental to the area in the long term.
The development of JI oceanfront should be done with the public benefit being the most important.
          Joseph J. Domelowicz, Myrtle Beach, SC
 
There are no provisions made to address future costs. These developments are promoted, in part, on the promise of increased revenue. Oddly enough, any areas that have been developed to this degree have ALWAYS, 100% of the time, required additional revenue.
A visit to Bogue Banks will show how, through increased taxes, the long term residents became financial servants of the wealthy and the speculators.
            When a thousand new units need utilities, bonds will cover the cost .When 200 of these units sit empty YOU, the local residents, will cover the cost. How? It's simple .The county raises the evaluation level according to inflated sale price. All average homes will be re-evaluated accordingly .The middle income owners will be forced off of the Island .More units can be constructed and the whole thing starts over.  Eventually The developer has twice as many units, the cost of services are out of hand, and the State comes in and dictates who will pay what. Everyone in the State pays the cost of keeping the cash flow from the island intact. If your lucky, the state will get back about 4 million for every 10 million that it puts into the ordeal.
            Where is the developer? He sold the maintenance agreement to an incompetent relative and has been gone for two years!
            Darrel G. Baird, Brimfield, OH

             We are above average by some income standards, and we have rarely felt we were able to spend $138/day for a room for family vacations.  Many of our best times were camping trips, but we have frequently stayed in the cheapest rooms available, usually well under the projected $105/day for an off beach economy room.  We've enjoyed ocean front rooms for less and had a great time. 
              If  Beachview Drive is routed to the park's interior, it won't be beach view any more, will it?  I am deeply offended by the suggestion that taxpayers should cover $84.5 million of infrastructure costs so Jekyll can be developed into something many of us will never again be able to afford to enjoy.  Creating an expensive exclusive enclave with taxpayers' money is criminal.  It is also not fiscally conservative.
             The cost for a time share (one-time price of $16,500 for a week) fails to mention the ongoing costs:  annual dues, membership in time-share organizations, maintenance charges, cleaning fees, amenity fees - there are many ways that time shares continue to cost the owners every year.
             My daughter just spent 5 days on Jekyll in an affordable oceanfront room and had a great time as always.  None of the proposed development is necessary - or affordable for average folks. 
         Valeria Maier, Decatur, GA

The LLC proposal would ruin the character of the island and thwart the purpose of a state park.
Michael Jaski & Deby Brown, McDonough, GA

My family has been enjoying Jekyll Island for more than 30 years.  We consider that Jekyll is on the upper edge of affordable now and the proposals will end our enjoyment of the island.  Besides, when they destroy the charm of Jekyll, we won't want to go anyway.
           William L. Huff, Marietta, GA

The planned physical changes at Jekyll will destroy most of what I go for: the natural beauty and quiet. The planned facility changes will change what many go for: affordability. Generations to come will never know the pleasure of Jekyll as a quiet and peaceful, natural and relaxing retreat. Trees will fall. Condos will rise. Meanwhile, those who have profited most from the new and teeming Jekyll will sail away to quiet, unspoiled places like Jekyll once was. When will we discover effective ways to make politicians responsive to the average citizen rather than to the developer?
Harold Hamilton, East Point, GA

We want our son to know what a beach really looks like, and that condos are not a natural part of that environment. Also, the playground is one of the reasons we paid for an annual parking pass.
           Mark and Evelyn Wright, Brunswick, GA

I do not see the need to eliminate the parking lots (and views of the ocean) by new development.  A new convention center is needed.  It could be built on the same footprint of the old one.  I wouldn't have a problem with the parking lot between the convention center and the Days Inn being eliminated to make way for one more hotel close to the convention center.  Other than that, the views and parking lots need to stay.  Of course, that area is big enough that it could still include parking for the hotel and convention center. I definitely don't think Jekyll needs any more condos.
           Deborah and Jeff Adams, Jesup, GA

I am a native of Atlanta (75 years) and am dedicated to saving what little we have left of our beautiful state.  Jekyll is truly a jewel and enjoyed by all the people of Georgia, not just the ones who can afford luxury vacations and/or homes.  They can go elsewhere, like Hilton Head which is a disaster.  We have so few parks remaining; it seems that our "leaders" only see parks as a money-tree for developers and miss the whole point.  Thank heaven for Cumberland and the Okefenokee.  Stone Mountain has been utterly destroyed and is now just another Six Flags.  We need to teach our children the wonders of nature and preservation of species and building condos is not the way.  Our planet is in terrible pain and adding to it just hastens mankind's demise.  My last trip to Jekyll several years ago was a joy I will never forget.  Having lunch on the patio of the hotel and watching people enjoying the age-old game of croquet on the hotel lawn was just beautiful and driving the beach road and investigating the old tabby buildings was a precious experience.  Jekyll belongs to all the people of Georgia, not just a few wealthy ones.  I have no money, but anything I can do to help, I will.
          Unsigned

           Georgia needs a relatively unspoiled beach where average Americans can afford to take their family.  I have been taking my family to Jekyll Island for years and would hate to see it all come to an end.   Money needs to be spent to preserve this wonderful Georgia coastline so children can see and recognize the natural Georgia not the tourist Georgia.  This is the only decent public beach on Georgia's coast and I would hate for it to be ruined for tourist money.
           Marjorie Grosse, Dewy Rose, GA

          The idea that this plan is affordable for the average Georgian is laughable.  This plan ruins everything that Jekyll is and was meant to be.  There are plenty of ways to modernize Jekyll without ruining the character of it.  I have been visiting Jekyll since I was a young kid and now I take my son there.  It has changed for the worse but I blame that on mismanagement, not lack of amenities.  If I wanted condos and shops I could go to St. Simons or Hilton Head or any of the other money hungry places along the coast.  I hope when my 4 year old has kids, he will have a place to take his family on an affordable vacation.  Call it welfare or whatever you want, the government has a duty to protect the land and provide for its citizens.  Protect Jekyll for future generations.  Give my son somewhere to take his kids camping and to learn about wildlife and the coastal habitats of the Georgia coast. 
          Names Lacy H. and Kim Ellerbee, Fort Valley GA  

           Jekyll Island needs to be left the way it is!  It was meant to be a sanctuary, and if there were huge amounts of people (which is what would happen if this proposal went through), it would no longer be a peaceful sanctuary - either for us or for the animals!  We enjoy it just the way it is!  There are not many places that you can go to and enjoy like Jekyll Island, without all of the huge crowds and development - and that is family oriented!  Please don't put condos and hotels on it that would just warrant tons more people!  Let it remain the sanctuary that it was intended to be!
          Ann Lawton, Forest Park, GA

         The reason I enjoy Jekyll Island is because of its natural beauty.  If I wanted a Town Center I would stay in Atlanta.  We all know there is a Town Center with empty overpriced homes on almost every corner and they have the same unique boutiques.  If there isn't one close enough to you, just wait a few days and you'll be able to see where one is going to be built. 
         Jekyll is a place to actually enjoy the beach without hotels/motels or high-rises 10 feet from the beach. 
         It breaks my heart and angers me to think that greed is going to take over and ruin such a beautiful place.  Georgia is losing the water battle to Florida in order to save endangered mussels and we can't save our turtles because some developer wants their nesting grounds. Somehow that just does not make sense.
         I can barely afford to go for a week now, after this goes through I guess I'll be just one of the lowly day visitors that talks about "the good ol’ days".
         What part of state-park are people missing?  State parks are for the public, rich or poor.
         I suppose my emotions have gotten the best of me.  I hope this makes a little sense. Thank you for letting me vent. 
         Susan Humphries, Marietta GA

         As a frequent visitor to Jekyll Island for a number of years, I have seen the need for improvements.  However, I don't think the Jekyll Island Authority should have the right to develop a state park as they darn well please.  Not one time during my visits has anyone surveyed my opinion about what changes I would like to see made now or in the future.
Jerry R. Hyde, Acworth, GA 

While I am not adverse to the idea of updating the central portion of Jekyll Island and/or the Convention Center, in my opinion, what Linger Longer currently proposes to do amounts to giving the Island back to the robber barons who abandoned it in the early to mid 20th century and is absolutely reprehensible.
          Just looking at the before and after maps provided on your site, it appears to me that public parking will be reduced to 1/3 of what it is now and will be moved an extreme distance from the beach. I noted where the project manager indicated that it is, "only," 1/4 mile from the beach - past US$1,000,000.00 condos with owners thumbing noses at us and/or untold number of upscale shops looking to separate us from more of our money. Only someone who has never had to walk such a distance with children, beach blanket, chairs, cooler/picnic basket and other items in tow would make a comment like that.
        To me, the true agenda is clear: to take the prime sections of Jekyll Island away from the very people it was intended (by State Law) for. What will be next? Will Linger Longer then start charging to use what few public parking areas are available (in addition to the current US$3.00 fee paid at the Island entrance)?
         And what of the owners of these condos? What happens when they start to tire of seeing ordinary people walking past their precious property to get to what they will consider, "their beach?" What happens when a crime is committed in the Town Center Area or a condo is broken into? What will happen is that the Town Center will slowly but surely be closed off to the public in increments that the public won't notice until the area is finally off limits to ordinary people and day visitors entirely - Just like Sea Island did about two years ago. 
         Paul DiGianfrancesco, Brunswick, GA

           As a biologist and high school science teacher, I felt sheer revulsion when I heard about the proposed development of Jekyll Island. I was born in Jesup, where my parents operated a gas station. We were by no means wealthy, but we enjoyed the tranquility and natural beauty of Jekyll Island on weekend outings. Many of my most cherished memories are linked to that seashore. The proposed development seems to be just another effort to burden Mother Nature with elitist, artificial, circus-like garbage. I, for one, could not bear to visit Jekyll Island again if its face were scarred by development -- so how would tourism be served? The feelings of average native Georgians should be paramount in this affair -- after all, we are the owners of the island. We who have roots in Georgia soil that go back hundreds of years are not willing to sell our souls for dollars!
           Mary Ann Stanley, Statesboro, GA

           I have visited Jekyll Island every year for the past 11 years, and truly enjoy it's natural environment. Unfortunately, the lack of hotel space has become a major problem. I do support the rebuilding of the hotel infrastructure and improving the quantity and quality of the restaurant options. But I do not support Condo and Time Share properties that are priced only for the rich. If condo's are to be built, they should be built in a price range that allows an average person from Georgia to afford them. In essence, take the average salary/family income of Georgia, and determine how a person of that means could afford to purchase one of the condos over a 15/30 year time frame.
The hotels should be allowed to be as high as they want, but only utilize the area that is already set aside of the hotels. The beach front should never be privatized in any way, and should always allow for access by visitors. I do believe the convention center should be rebuilt, and believe you could do so on the current land and parking lots. I believe that incentives to hotel building (on existing land) should be given, but done with reasonable tax incentives. Also, since Georgians will be footing the price of these incentives, they should be provided monetary incentives to utilize Jekyll Island, in the form of reduced room rates for the length of time the hotel receives the tax incentives.
          Dan R. Roberts, Woodstock, GA

         Jekyll Island is a state park for the people of Georgia and should be protected from commercial development - especially large scale development like that being proposed. It will cause an imbalance in the natural environment that is so important to all who love and treasure this beautiful, unique place!
         Joan & Ray Nicholson   (no address)

          I've been "escaping" yearly to Jekyll Island since 1960! I am sick at heart at the thought of the current plans to put up hundreds of condos & timeshares - not to mention the absolute destruction of the public beachfront. Granted some of the current hotels could do with a makeover or rebuild, and I wouldn't object to seeing the shopping strip remodeled into something a little more attractive. But most of all I think it is imperative we preserve the peace and tranquility of the island so it remains a place where we can go (and afford to go) to escape the very horrible environment they are proposing to construct there.
          Jane Gay, Atlanta, GA

          Having been raised in Brunswick, I frequented Jekyll Island growing up, and then we didn't even have to pay three dollars in toll to do so.  When my son was growing up, we lived even closer to Jekyll, and were hardly ever able to visit, simply because we were on a tight budget, and couldn't afford that much toll, and for it to be a state park, everyone should be able to visit, for much less money than that.  Now, the developers want to put motels and cond's on the island that only well-off people will be able to enjoy.  For as much money as they are planning on spending, they should put up a few decent motels that only charge about half of their lowest priced motel will be charging, 55.00 to 60.00 a night.  They would have more people that could afford to stay, and would probably visit more often.  The thing that people always loved about Jekyll, was that even though it was a beautiful island, low-income families could vacation there, and still have money left to pay their regular bills. Now it is starting to look like a person has to be as rich as Rockefeller to visit there.
         Wanda Reed, Hortense, GA

         I am greatly concerned as to what will happen to the many dedicated employees of Jekyll Island as far as the landscape and maintenance department. These employees do not know what the future holds for them. They are concerned about losing their accumulated benefits over the many years of dedicated employment. I do not like the idea of the historical district being disturbed at all. This is part of our history. My children are devastated that the putt-putt golf is going to be demolished. This is the only one that we have feasible access to. Please give the employees and idea of what they can expect in the future, please!
         Tammy Sheppard, Hortense, GA

         Let me start off by saying that I applaud your group and Senator Jeff Chapman's efforts to discuss this topic fully before the bulldozers start rolling.   However, the true answer for Jekyll's future is somewhere in the middle.  We must always provide quick and easy beach side access for all of us common folk.  Let's not let it become Amelia Island North! The island is certainly in drastic need of an overhaul.  Tourism is down! 
         I ‘DJ’ a lot of weddings on Jekyll every year.  In addition to weddings I used to get a lot of convention business.  Those conventions aren't coming any more.  The island's facilities have been antiquated for quite some time.  They need more than a fresh coat of paint. 
The one thing that stands out in this debate is that I get a sense of the Jekyll residents not wanting anyone to mess with "their" island.  It's kind of like, "I'm here. I don't anyone else to find out about my little slice of heaven!" You know what?   It's not just your island!  It's also my island!  I've been going to the Jekyll beaches since was a kid growing up in Brunswick's south end.  I got a hunch that Bill Donahue was somewhere in the middle as well.  Maybe, that's why he got shipped out of here so quickly!
Joe Sousa, Brunswick, GA 

         I favor responsible revitalization of Jekyll but oppose new building on the open oceanfront. I definitely oppose new private housing--Jekyll is a state park, not an enclave for the elite.
         Mildred Suttles (3143 Vine Circle)

         The world is increasingly for the rich in this country. What are the workers and the middle classes to do?  This again is becoming an issue of saving this for ALL people, not just the wealthy. This is a travesty
        Gail Boyd (519 N. Alexander Ave.)

         I believe that the Linger Longer group gave misleading figures regarding average room rates and that the majority of accommodations would be beyond the range of average Georgians.  The wealthy already have St. Simons Island and plenty of other coastal areas to vacation at the level they seem to prefer.  People of average means also like to stay in oceanfront hotels and Jekyll Island is one of the few places this is possible in such a serene setting.
          I'm also curious about the plan submitted that required no money from the state.  I believe it was a single individual (Wayne Shealey?) but I never saw any details of that plan.  It may have been more modest in scale and something that could be a compromise.
         My husband and I are among the few people who don't seem to feel that the existing properties need revitalization. Most we've stayed at were at least adequate, if not very good. However, it does appear some have been simply closed down, perhaps on purpose, waiting to see what happens.  Why not just open them and their adjacent restaurants back up?  A few shops and expansion of the grocery store would be fine, but not on the beach.
        This was the only reason I voted no to #10. 
        Geni Putnam, Decatur, GA

           I am disappointed to hear what the state of Georgia is doing to destroy its public parks and fill the pockets of these private companies. As a Georgia Taxpayer, I am overwhelmingly against this project.
         Emil Perera, Alpharetta GA

         My family has been coming to Jekyll island each year to visit for over 12 years now.  We started out in the hotels and now have moved to the rental houses now that we have 2 little girls.  The reason we come back each year is because Jekyll is different, not overgrown and overdeveloped like the rest of the majority of the Atlantic coast line.  If I wanted an overdeveloped area to visit there is already Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach.  I really hope in the end people in the position of authority realize what Jekyll Island is and what it can become if they allow "profit" to drive all decisions. If Jekyll ever becomes overdeveloped my family and I will not return.
          Please save Jekyll Island now and for future generations!
          Paul Kesler, Atlanta, GA

I PERSONALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY ONE WOULD WANT TO DESTROY THE NATURAL BEATY OF AN ISLAND IN ORDER TO MAKE A BUCK. MY CHILDREN AND I ENJOY WALKING ON THE BEACH AND WALKING OVER TO PLAY GOLF. WE LIKE RIDING AROUND THE ISLAND, JUST TO SEE WHAT KIND OF ANIMALS WE CAN FIND. WHERE ARE THESE ANIMALS GOING TO LIVE IF THEY TEAR DOWN THE SAID ANIMALS’ NATURAL HABITAT? NOT ONLY THAT, BUT WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THE POLLUTION, THE CLEAN UP AND ALL OF THAT? OH, WAIT. I GUESS THAT WOULD BE THE TAXPAYERS, ONCE AGAIN PAYING FOR SOMEONE ELSES MISTAKES.
         KELLY STRICKLAND, WAYNESVILLE GA

         If the proposed Linger Longer Plan goes through we will not linger longer, we won't linger at all because we won't be here. We spend two and a half months here every winter. At those prices we will be in Florida where it is warmer. And for only a few weeks.
         Has anyone ever noticed that present guests - at least winter guests don't litter the island. All other roads have litter. Why is Jekyll free? Because we appreciate what we have here and want to take care of it.
         Last night we walked the beach to enjoy the moonlight reflecting on the ocean. We were not alone. With all the lights the new place will have there will not be any enjoying the moonlight on the ocean.
         Linda & Dexter Thede, Aurora, OH

          As two of the many snowbirds who migrate to Jekyll during winter months (helping to keeps the local economy alive in the off season), we love the unspoiled nature of the island, golf courses, etc.  The kind of development being proposed would cause us to stop coming.
         Guy and Andrea Fincke, Gloucester, MA

        This project is contrary to the nature of this particular island.  There are condominiums for sale on surrounding islands, but the demand is minimal. The beauty of Jekyll happens BECAUSE these types of projects haven't been allowed.
        Aaron Bell and Marie Gossman, Pensacola, FL

          As a descendant of the Christopher duBignon family of Jekyll, I, of course, would be against any building of any kind and I am very much distressed at the condition of the duBignon Cemetery across from Horton House. Please count me as an advocate for preserving Jekyll Island. Jekyll has the most beautiful beaches of all because of the direction the beaches face and because there has been no development. Keep Jekyll Beautiful!!!
Laura Parker Carrico, Raleigh, NC

If the town centre is to be developed or redeveloped, it should concentrate any new housing (condos and hotels) in one small area, to cut down on the use of cars for shopping and other uses.
          As Canadians and renters we do not have a vote.  However, we will not return to Jekyll Island if it turns into another St. Simon's.  What we treasure here is the low-key, natural, nature of the island and its relative lack of development.
          What we would like to see are more nature-oriented activities and a real push for eco-tourism.  Any new or redeveloped buildings should be to LEED standards.  Any new infrastructure should support biking and walking rather than car use. > We support every word of your mission statement.
          Vicki Metcalfe and Dennis Orchard, Ottawa, Canada

         The Legislature should pass legislation to require a complete investigation into this entire sorry affair, which brought about this flawed plan.  The Island Authority should be required to come up with a plan that requires the Authority to comply with the original intent of the establishment of this State Park and/or require that all beaches are not closed down for public access, that there be adequate parking for the public that utilize the beaches, that there should be minimum damage to the forests and other wetland and beach habitat, that any hotels or condominiums have a footprint only large enough to contain the buildings and parking and not allow for extensive grounds, gardens, and excessive parking. 
         There should also be no golf courses allowed on the island.  No Luxury Condos or Time Shares should be allowed on the island.  Hotels should be allowed on widely separated lots as they are now.  They should not over 35 feet in height and should be nicely screened from both the beach and the roads with a minimum footprint for buildings and parking as stated above. 
         The Jekyll Island Authority should contain no Developers, Real Estate people, and if so, they should be balanced by members of the officers or members of the Georgia Conservancy, the Sierra Club, Georgia Chapter, Ecologists, other knowledgeable experts in the environmental sciences and responsible private citizens.
         This land grab by Coastal Developers and Real Estate Industry is a travesty.  One only has to look at Reynolds Plantation and Great Waters by Linger Longer (LL) on Lake Oconee to see the greed and destruction of the environment that has occurred there.  What Linger Longer has done is very nice in some ways but they are determined to develop every square inch of their vast holdings at the expense of the environment and other home owners on the lake.  I lived on Lake Oconee for 10 years and I am aware of their greedy philosophy to extract every last dollar out of their land and the lake.  My only questions are how much is too much and when will their nest and everybody else's be spoiled on Lake Oconee?  It seems well on the way.  Jekyll Island will not be far behind with LL's help and the State's complicity. 
         In addition, it will be no time before Linger Longer will have 5 golf courses on Jekyll Island.  (They have more than that on Lake Oconee.) The State and the Public be damned.
         John C. Nord and Charlsey M. Nord, (1251 Planters Ridge Drive)

        We are in agreement with the residents of Jekyll. Although we do not live in GA., (we moved from Marietta, GA) we vacation on Jekyll Island and love the environment , as is. We are in favor of rebuilding the current hotels, or those which have been vacant, or torn down, but no condos! A little more shopping and recreation is fine....no more residents.
        Vickie & David Lindsay, Keaton Beach, FL

          We support the revitalization of JI in part. New medium priced hotel rooms, economy priced at below $100.00, would keep the hotel full year round. Seems to us that it would be better to keep affordable prices and stay full! We have been visiting JI for more than 40 years, and have supported the economy of Georgia with more than $100,000.00. We are just one average family. Think of the number of average visitors from out of state that have spent at least that much. So many of the long term visitors have reached retirement age and continue to spend vacations and winters on JI spending hard earned retirement dollars. What impact would the loss of their monies have if we don't stay affordable? Yes, rebuild the hotels, keep an economy priced hotel on the beach, continue to monitor hotels who are supposed to be upgrading, have a "town square", the convention center is old but fine, doesn't need to be moved, SAVE the playground and golf course. Save the taxpayers money, there is no need to reroute Beachview Dr. and above all SAVE the beachfront including the nesting areas of the sea turtle! Thanks for the opportunity to express our views.
David and Betty Lacey, Oxford, OH

           I believe that a new convention center and adjoining hotel are extremely important for the financial livelihood of the island.  The island needs more large conventions in order to sustain itself.  I also feel that the new convention center and its adjoining hotel should be located at its present site.  This island is a jewel, so let convention guests get a real taste of its presence by placing them right on the beach.  Many of these conventioneers will be its future guests.
          Richard Tallmadge, N. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

          I know we are not Georgia residents, but, we have been vacationing on yearly on Jekyll since 1984.  Obviously we love the place.  One of the reasons we love it is the "peace and quiet", as well as long bike rides, wildlife sightings, endless beach, affordable golf, etc ...
          Please don't let all of this change.  Now we know things have to change some, and we've seen some change (we don't miss the Huddle House!) but we love the new surface on the bike path over by the airport.  We enjoy renting a home for a week or two but have also taken advantage of a few days at a hotel so we see the need for quality lodging.  But, big BUT, quality doesn't have to mean expensive.  We are an average middle class family that saves to go on vacation and Jekyll has always been easily savable (don't know if that's a word?).
         We truly hope we are not going to be priced out of our favorite vacation destination.  You see we didn't get to come this year but have plans to be there next spring.  I sure hope we can.                             
         Shawn F. and Wendy L. Gray, Harbor Springs, MI
                          
         We have visited Jekyll since 1973 as my husband's parents lived there for close to 20 years.  We have enjoyed the natural beauty and used to enjoy seeing deer and turkeys on the island. I know that progress is inevitable, but sometimes progress isn't the best thing for the environment and the people.  There are so few areas affordable for families that I think it would be terrible for Jekyll to join the other beaches in trying to entice big spenders. Even though we never used the parking lots as we were staying on the island it would be unfair to make it unusable for the people who live in close proximity to the island.
        Bill and Sally Bonner, Lincoln, MI


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