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DeLoach appointed to Jekyll board
Buddy DeLoach 201
Buddy DeLoach - photo by Courier file photo
Former Hinesville mayor and state representative Buddy DeLoach is back in the mix of Georgia state politics.
Gov. Sonny Perdue recently appointed the five-term state House member, who served until 2004, to the Jekyll Island State Park Authority to replace outgoing coastal member Richard Wood, whose four-year term expired on June 30.
“I appreciate the confidence that the governor placed in me in this appointment because it is a critical time in the history of Jekyll Island,” DeLoach said about his selection to the nine-member board. “I appreciate that very much.”
The JIA was created by the state legislature in 1950 to oversee the preservation and development of Jekyll Island, which was purchased by the state in 1947 to serve as “a playground for the public.”
Recently, however, the island has become a battleground for developers who want to cash in on its pristine landscape and conservationists who want to preserve its rich and historical environment.
DeLoach said this is “a time of great, great change for Jekyll Island” and development was inevitable, but the JIA’s current primary focus is upgrading the existing facilities on the island.
“We are at the very beginning of a total revitalization program for the housing facilities there, hotels and the convention center,” he said. “That means Jekyll, in three or four years, will look totally different than it looks now and we think that means hundreds of millions of dollars worth of construction and far improved convention and hotel facilities.”
Maintaining Jekyll Island’s accessibility and affordability for all Georgians will not get lost in the development shuffle, he said.
“The (JIA) charter charges us with the responsibility of making sure that the island is available to all Georgians,” DeLoach said. “That means when we [build] new hotels, we can’t just do five-star, $250 or $300 a night rooms. We have to make sure that there are rooms there affordable for everybody.”
When asked if the new appointment could lead to another run at full-time political office, DeLoach said it was doubtful.
“This is not a stepping stone into anything else,” he said with a slight chuckle. “It’s an opportunity to do something that will be meaningful for many Georgians for years and years to come.”
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