Saturday, November 24, 2007

11/20 - Affordable? Not the question

Date November 20, 2007
Section(s) Letters
Your editorial of Nov. 10 makes a series of assumptions that I do not believe are correct.

Nobody that I am aware of is proposing that Jekyll Island be returned to its "natural state." Nobody that I am aware of is opposed to the redevelopment/revitalization that will occur.

You state that few people from "deep inland" can enjoy Jekyll now because of the "lack of accommodations." This is not correct. The three hotels that were badly deteriorated have either been torn down or are being torn down. The Days Inn, on the other hand, offers economical rates, has been recently reviewed and is excellent shape. Other hotels on Jekyll are also in good shape.

Our prototype private sector partner, Linger Longer, is proposing three entirely new hotels for the Convention Center area. One of those new hotels has been specifically earmarked to be an "economy" facility. Everyone I know of supports the Linger Longer concept of having a range of hotels in terms of price in that area.

I have been a strong proponent of maintaining the concept of affordable accommodations on Jekyll. The statute says that the Authority is supposed to do just that. If Linger Longer is not comfortable with the affordability requirement, then why would they propose an economy hotel?

The areas of disagreement with Linger Longer's plan are the number of condominium/residential units to be built in the Convention Center area, the distance from new construction to environmentally sensitive areas and the availability of accessible parking near the beach. Ben Porter, chair of the Authority Board, has already stated that he is "100 percent certain" that the present Linger Longer plan will not be approved by the authority.

The board is going to have lengthy negotiations with Linger Longer to resolve the above and other issues.

We can redevelop and revitalize Jekyll while keeping it affordable for the majority of Georgians. Hotel developers understand what "affordable" means even if our critics do not.

I, along with other board members, am committed to maintaining a range of affordable accommodations on Jekyll. Developers certainly would prefer to build expensive hotel units and condominiums, but they are grudgingly going to have to accept the fact that a range of prices must be provided.

Ed Boshears

No comments: