Friday, November 16, 2007

11/16 - Jekyll Redevelopment

Thu, Nov 15, 2007
Section - Letters
The Brunswick News

The editorial "Jekyll - Why couldn't it use development?" raises a good question, but a better one might be, "How much and what kind of development does Jekyll Island State Park need?"

Since the park is obviously a "target-rich" environment for developers, surgical precision is a must when exposing this precious natural resource to development. Unfortunately, some people, including the JIA, are ready to jump on the development bandwagon and take a shot at all sorts of development targets at once. This "shotgun approach" is both inappropriate and risky -- after all, we don't want to carve up "Georgia's Jewel" but rather restore its luster.

Common sense tells us that when considering the park's redevelopment, the first question that should be asked is, "Why has the park's visitation declined in recent years?"

The answer to this question can be found without the help of a crystal ball -- the park's aging oceanfront hotels were allowed to deteriorate to the point where many people no longer wanted to stay in them. Georgians did not tire of Jekyll's natural beauty, its accessible beaches; its affordable accommodations, they simply found the park's lodgings to be less and less attractive.

The remedy to this problem is obvious -- redevelop the oceanfront hotels, provide modern, quality rooms at a reasonable rate, and watch park visitation and JIA revenue increase dramatically. If necessary, include a more upscale hotel for those who would prefer luxury accommodations, but keep the vast majority of the park's hotel rooms affordable for most Georgians.

What kind of development does the park need beyond hotel renovation?

Missy Brandt
Darien, Ga

I am writing in response to the article about Jekyll Island and Sen. Chapman's efforts to investigate. My family and I have been going to Jekyll Island for over 45 years because of its natural beauty, quaintness, and serenity. If these large companies step in to develop the island as stated, ordinary Georgians like my family and countless others are going to be pushed out of their little slice of heaven by gaudy structures and 'commercialism.' People who need high-rise condos and chain restaurants can go to St. Simons and Sea Island, which have already given into these trends. And furthermore, developement on the island will jeopardize its unique wildlife. Please help us preserve our state park. Thanks.

Ashley Chasteen
Marietta, GA

I am so very saddened by the news of Jekyll Island's redevelopment plans. I am a military wife who was born and raised in the Golden Isles and have enjoyed bringing my kids 'home' every summer to share with them among other things the wonderful natural beauty of Jekyll Island that I enjoyed as a child. As I examine the proposed plans for Jekyll's future, I realize the charming characteristics of Jekyll that we now hold so dear will be missing after the redevelopment. My kids continue to ask me, ìWhy, mom, why?î weeks after hearing about the playground's planned demise. We are praying that Morgan Simpson's petition won't fall on deaf ears!

Lisa Owens James
Chesapeake, VA