Saturday, November 3, 2007

09/27 - Jekyll Island plan an excellent idea

Date September 27, 2007
Section(s) Commentary

Excellent plan. Just simply excellent. New hotels, new convention center - a brand new look for Jekyll Island. A whole new image.

Great job, Jekyll Island Authority. It has taken some time - and it will take a little longer given the dramatic makeover that's proposed - but the $441 million redevelopment and redesign plan outlined by Linger Longer Properties this week is nothing short of a class act. It's a welcomed project indeed, highly welcomed, and a much anticipated one at that.

New hotels, a village shopping area with all the finery that can be found in other coastal communities and a convention center that will bring people and business back to Jekyll Island are a major part of what's on the drawing board, but it's not everything that is attractive about the plan. Mercer Reynolds III, chief executive officer of Linger Longer Properties, says his idea includes other qualities and features that so many other projects its size and scope on the East Coast lack. Jekyll's redevelopment will be environmentally friendly.

There's something else Reynolds says his plan will have that other oceanside communities don't have. It will be affordable, and not just to those of means, either. It will be accessible to all. It will be a place where everybody can go to enjoy the sun, the sand and the surf.

Jekyll Island Board Chair Ben Porter and other board members, as well as many of their predecessors, have maintained a certain vision for the state-owned island.

When faced with criticism, they didn't budge. They held steadfast to their goal.

As a result, Brunswick and the Golden Isles, as well as the rest of the state, have something spectacular to look forward to in the months and years ahead. They will see an island transformed from rags to splendor before their very eyes.

Those who have expressed concerns about a fresh face for Jekyll Island can rest easy today. They can now see for themselves that their concerns and worries were for naught. No one is being left out in the cold. No one. The island will be there for everyone.

That leaves just one question for the chair and leadership of Linger Longer Properties: how soon can you start?

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