The dedication of the new convention center on Jekyll Island marked a beginning for the next phase of Georgia’s great treasure. This accomplishment is one to be shared throughout Georgia.
Many people have fond memories and family stories. While their stories are great to hear, the sad truth is that Jekyll Island, Georgia’s gem, had lost its shine and fallen in disrepair. Gone was the splendor and first-class amenities that existed when the island was at its peak in the 1970s and early 1980s. The lodging and dining options were limited and many times second rate. And this resulted in a large reduction in conventions and overall visits to the island.
Fortunately, former Gov. Sonny Perdue made the revitalization of Jekyll a priority in his second term. He reconfigured the Jekyll Island Authority, which oversees operation of the island, and he charged its board with the task of bringing this asset back to life.
The journey was marked with many critics along the way. The road that began in 2006 and continues today has been one with many challenges and hurdles. But it is one that has been navigated with one simple guiding principle: Make Jekyll Island a place all Georgians will want to visit and enjoy for years to come.
This new 128,000-square-foot facility is part of the first phase of a master plan that will accomplish that goal. This facility will be the anchor tenant and an economic stimulus for the coastal area. With the new lodging facilities planned and overall redevelopment of the island, the tourist dollars will be coming back to the region.
The JIA board is planning announcements soon of two flagship hotel as well as a 40,000-square-foot retail area on the convention center campus. With the tireless efforts of the JIA board and staff, along with the full support and guidance of Gov. Nathan Deal, Jekyll’s future is looking brighter everyday.
The investment that was made in bringing the island back is money well spent and will provide dividends for years to come. I urge everyone to come experience the new and improved Jekyll Island. The history, the views and the overall nature of Jekyll is one every Georgian can be proud of.
— Steve Croy, vice chairman, JI Authority