Dating back to its founding legislation, Jekyll Island State Park has operated under a legislative mandate calling for its facilities to be affordable for people of average income. Mandated too is that the Jekyll Island Authority–the state park’s governing body–be financially self-sustainable.
For decades, the affordability and financial self-sustainability mandates reinforced one another, as affordable facilities resulted in more visitors and greater revenue for the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA). In fact, the years when visitation was greatest and the JIA most prosperous were when all of the island’s hotels were moderately priced, with the exception of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
Recently, concern about the future of Jekyll’s affordability tradition has arisen with the JIA’s approval of the construction of a pair of upscale hotels, one being the Jekyll Westin Resort and the other the Jekyll Island Club Hotel Oceanfront, both of which will be part of the island’s Beach Village. Originally, the Beach Village plan included an economy hotel, but that idea was dropped a while back.
The concept plan for replacing the former Buccaneer Hotel and Georgia Coast Inn, both of which offered modestly-priced lodgings, submitted by the Trammel Crow Company at the April 21 meeting of the JIA board call for a trio of hotels that will have average daily rates (ADR) ranging from $150 to $175.
Additionally, the Holiday Inn Resort, which is now under construction and will replace the affordable Oceanside Inn & Suites, will have just 20 or so rooms priced moderately; the rest reportedly will be $200+ per day.
In all, this appears to be bad news for Jekyll visitors of average income.
To help focus attention on the Jekyll affordability issue, IPJI is conducting a visitor survey and is sponsoring a “Let’s Keep Jekyll Island Affordable” petition, the online version of which has already been signed by more than 12,000 people. IPJI intends to convey the results of the survey and petition to state legislators, the Governor of Georgia, and the media to highlight the importance of keeping Jekyll affordable for people of ordinary means, as intended by the state park’s founding legislation.
We encourage everyone who cares about the future of Jekyll Island State Park - Georgians and non-Georgians alike - to participate in IPJI's Affordability survey and sign IPJI’s Affordability Petition and to share both with family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, and anyone else who believes Jekyll should be preserved as a seaside park for everyday folks.