Monday, January 28, 2008

01/18 - County commissioner on track for Jekyll

Date: January 18, 2008
Section(s): Commentary

You have to hand it to Glynn County Commission Chair Don Hogan. Endorsing the proposed refacing of Jekyll Island, Commissioner Hogan said it's time to fix Georgia's "tarnished jewel."

Tarnished jewel - Commissioner Hogan couldn't have put it more clearly or succinctly, because that is exactly what Jekyll Island is. It is not Georgia's Jewel, as the state claims in its promotions. It once was, but it is no more.

Of course, with more people like Commissioner Hogan standing up for revitalization of the park, speaking in favor of making the island once again attractive to Georgians, the island will rise again to that status.

Plans Commissioner Hogan and the county commission endorse call for new hotels and a new convention center - a modern facility that can accommodate civic, governmental and business organizations looking for a place to bring their families close to the sea. It would be nice to see these people return. The Jekyll Island Authority and Linger Longer Communities have a design in mind that will guarantee it, and without touching any of the 65 percent of the island that by law is to remain in its natural state.

Needless to say, as is always the case anytime something is discussed for Jekyll Island and for the people of this state, the plan is not without its detractors - people and politicians who don't want anything on the island that might attract other people to Georgia's shore. They would just as soon leave the island as it is.

Commissioner Hogan feels the state can do better. He said as much during the meeting of the Jekyll Island Authority earlier this week in Atlanta. And he's not the only one who feels that way. Members of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority and those from the business community in general also showed up to voice their support for something that is long, long overdue.

Others need to let their voices be heard.

1 comment:

lojo said...

County Commissioner Don Hogan is right. Perhaps Jekyll is a tarnished jewel, and perhaps it is time to restore the island and to once again make it attractive to Georgians. There are several different ways to accomplish this revitalization. However, I feel very strongly that the plans approved by Don Hogan and the JIA are not the appropriate path to restoration of Jekyll. A new convention center is not a bad idea at all, but why does it have to be surrounded by condos and hotels, and why does it have to be on the beach? I know, the older convention center is on the beach. Fine. Build a new one where the old one sits. This is absolutely feasible because the new convention center isn't any bigger than the old one. The public isn't upset about rennovations or the revitalization of Jekyll. We are asking that the JIA doesn't allow condos and hotels to be built on the main public beach area. Jekyll has hotels. Sure, they are old and they are in need of multiple improvements. These improvements are already happening. Right now, old hotels being demolished, new and improved structures are being built. This is revitalization, and this is a good thing. You say that anyone who disagrees with this very aggressive development plan are "detractors who don't want anything on the island that might attract other people to Georgia's shore" . I hope you know that this is an inaccurate statement. I hope you can recognize that this is not a fight against tourism. The citizens that are speaking out against the plans approved by the JIA love Jekyll Island. They know the reason that Jekyll has been so successful in attracting visitors in the past. Jekyll Island isn't overrun with beachside hotels. The beauty of Jekyll is Jekyll itself. It's not the ammenities that Jekyll offers, and it's not the availability of a tiki bar on the shore. Jekyll is a state park, and it should be preserved. Jekyll should not be considered an economic engine. Jekyll is not a resort destination, and it should not be treated like one. If this is the sort of destination that convention planners and vacationers desire, those options are available at other GA locations. This is one of the only unspoiled beaches remaining in our nation. Let's do a better job of marketing that feature. Let's hold the JIA accountable for their past failures, and let's stop them from making the biggest mistake yet. There is a very real possiblity that Jekyll will be forever ruined. Forever tarnished, for what they are proposing to do - - what you are supporting - - isn't something that we can undo later - this is permanent and this is critical. This is destruction of a natural and beautiful wonder. This is not an argument against progress. This is not a cry to halt any improvements. This is a plea to tread very carefully on land created by God (and deeded to the people of Georgia).