Plan unveiled to create village of shops, eateries on Jekyll Island
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JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. -- A proposal to attract more tourists and meetings to Jekyll Island includes plans for a village of shops and restaurants.
Mike Chatham, the project's lead architect, told the Jekyll Island Authority board the plan showcases the island's pristine beach while creating a bustling downtown hub like visitors might see in Savannah or Charleston, S.C.
"If you're a meeting planner, you want a location where you have other things to do and walkable amenities," Chatham said.
Giving state-owned Jekyll Island a major makeover has been a priority in recent years as more tourists and convention groups have forsaken its musty hotels and aging attractions in favor of other beach getaways. Tourism has fallen from a peak of 2.1 million visitors nearly a decade ago to 1.49 million in fiscal 2008.
Previous plans raised howls of protest over the sheer scale of new construction as well as proposals for $500,000 condos and an upscale hotel. A state law mandates that the island be accessible to Georgians of "average income."
Those upscale attractions were dumped from the plan in October, when the board agreed to slash overall construction by two-thirds and chop the overall cost of the project from $352 million to $100 million. The new proposal was unveiled in July.
Construction is scheduled to begin on Jekyll Island this December, with the new convention center and other attractions completed in 2012.
First Published July 29, 2009 12:00 am