JIA Board Maps out Jekyll’s Future at 2-Day Retreat
On June 17 and 18, 2009, members of the Jekyll Island Authority board and the executive staff met for a planning retreat in Smarr, Georgia. At the meeting, which was run by a professional facilitator, participants were asked to express their personal views about Jekyll’s future; identify the pressing issues and important opportunities that need to be addressed; and come up with action steps that should be taken to accomplish the JIA’s revitalization goals. The meeting closed with the JIA members discussing topics that had not yet been covered in the retreat and with an account of some “consensus decisions” that arose from these discussions.
Among the items on the board’s agenda for Jekyll’s future are:
- Construction of condos or villas on the golf courses
- Privatization of key amenities, including the golf course complex
- Termination of the residential leases on Jekyll’s south end
- Reappointment of current board members to new four-year terms
The main concerns expressed by the board are:
- The possibility of a special Legislative Session in August that could jeopardize the $50 million in bond funds set aside for the Jekyll town center project
- Georgia’s gubernatorial race possibly making Jekyll island “a politicized sacrificial lamb”
- The need to make visible progress in Jekyll’s redevelopment prior to the 2010 Legislative Session
- The need to consider finding other private partners if Linger Longer does not follow though on commitments
- The need to attract the kind of retail shops that will be a “good fit” for Linger Longer’s beach village
In addition, board members frequently spoke of their commitment to conservation efforts and preserving Jekyll’s natural beauty, yet the adoption of the Jekyll Island Conservation Plan, which has been impounded for the past 18 months, was not among the items on the board’s agenda. In fact, the Conservation Plan was not even mentioned during the two-day retreat.
Overall, board members expressed confidence that they are on the right rack with their revitalization program.