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Planning for Jekyll Island’s Future: A Critical Juncture in the History of the “People’s Park”


When the Jekyll Island Authority’s (JIA) board of directors first announced its intent to undertake a comprehensive redevelopment of Jekyll Island State Park, a number of organizations urged the board to employ professionals in public land planning for the purpose of identifying the best path to follow in revitalizing the Park and to determine extent to which Jekyll can handle more development without negatively affecting the quality of the experience enjoyed by its visitors and without compromising the island’s environment or wildlife habitats.

Responding to public encouragement, the Authority recently conducted a planning study called an “Analysis of Long-Term Impacts of Development on Jekyll Island.” The study, which was done for the JIA by the Bleakly Advisory Group (BAG)—the consulting firm that selected Linger Longer Communities as the JIA’s private partner and helped write the request for proposals for the controversial Jekyll town center—marks a milestone in the history of the Jekyll development issue, as it offers a forecast of where BAG believes the Authority must head if it is to acquire the financial resources to maintain, operate and further develop Jekyll Island State Park and to boost visitation to desired levels.

Designed to provide an analytical framework for considering the appropriate level of future development on Jekyll Island, BAG’s study may prove to be one of the most important and influential documents in the history of Jekyll Island State Park. With its recommendation for increasing the number of Jekyll’s hotel rooms, condos and cottages from its existing 1,624 units to 3,700 units, and with its projected boost in the island’s average daily population from the existing 6,000 to 15,000 in peak season, the BAG report, understandably, has raised some eyebrows.

BAG will be holding a meeting at 2:00 on September 29th at the Jekyll Convention Center to summarize the report and take questions from the public. Anyone interested in the future of Jekyll Island State Park should consider attending this meeting.

People who will be unable to attend the meeting but would like have their voices heard at the session may send their comments or questions to the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island State Park (IPJI) by writing to The IPJI will then incorporate the input it receives into the questions its representatives will raise at the meeting

A summary of the BAG report, and the full report itself, can be found at the IPJI’s website,


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