Jekyll Island is one of the jewels in Georgia’s crown. Since 1946 the island has been owned and controlled by the State of Geogia by and through the Jekyll Island Authority. Through legislation no more than 65 percent of the island can be developed. Unfortunately, the Jekyll Island Authority is proposing redevelopment of the island which includes allowing Linger Longer (LLC) to develop the main beach which is currently uninhabited by condos and hotels.
If they have their way the main beach, which is undeveloped natural oceanfront, will end up with a 64-acre town center with 277 condos, 160 time-share units and 3 hotels totaling 725 room. I guess “they” don’t get it……part of what makes Jekyll such a special place to go isn’t the condos, time-shares, and hotels….it’s the undeveloped natural oceanfront.
In a January 8th AJC article it appears the a lack of permit could delay the project but the war of words continues.
An article in the Florida Times Union advises the organization Save Jekyll Island found that a majority of people that took part in a survey want development to take place within existing footprints of current or former buildings, protecting the public’s beachfront access from development. The article states:
A grassroots organization, Save Jekyll Island was created to inform the public and hopefully halt some of the proposed development. Recently they put up a link to Senator Jeff Chapman's resolution that the public might want to think about suporting calling for the park’s main beach to be maintained for the benefit of the general public.
One interesting fact that has come to my attention is Wade Shealy of the Jekyll Island Company, which did not win the bid and since filed a lawsuit protesting the bidding process, estimates that the profits for the development will be $500 million…..that’s a $500 million profit for a private company developing a PUBLICALLY owned state park.
Wilson over at Whats Going On? provides a history behind the Linger Longer company and provides some more details regarding the bidding process in his post Linger Longer at Jekyll Island: Fact or Fiction? and Wade Shealy responds to Wilson’s questions in Jekyll Island Development: A Question of Fairness and Justice.
A blog, the Jekyll Island News is keeping people advised as well.
Here are a couple of opinion pieces….one from a letter to the editor published in the online version of the Athens Banner Herald from November, opinons from the Topix online forum., and a more recent opinion from January 14th in the Marietta Daily Journal.
Another must read is The Fight Over Jekyll Island State Park from the Daily Kos: State of the Nation.
As you can see this issue isn’t just for people along the coast. This is a matter for all Georgians to have their say.
What’s your opinion?