June 2012 Issue
Jekyll parking fees chasing away
by Patrick Anderson, Publisher
legislation enacted in 1963 amended the Jekyll Island State Park
Authority Act to specifically favor the "ordinary people of the State."
Of course, no one wants to be considered ordinary, but it's clear
the park is meant to be affordable for everyone.
The legislation states in part that income arising out of the
operation of the Park “shall be used by the Authority for the sole
purpose of beautifying, improving, developing, enlarging,
maintaining, administering, managing and promoting Jekyll
Island State Park at the lowest rates reasonable and possible for
the benefit of the ordinary people of the State of Georgia.” Ga. L.
1963, p. 391 (Act No. 330). Here is a link to a time line of state
legislation affecting Jekyll Island.
it did a good job of living up to its mission. However, in 2009 the
daily parking fee rose from $3 to $5, and a major shift began
developing. More and more "ordinary" people from Glynn and
surrounding counties stopped using the beaches of Jekyll Island
and shifted their beach loyalty to St. Simons Island.
the only time the Coast Guard Station parking lot would overflow was on Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July. In
recent years, the popular beach access point overflows every weekend of the spring and summer when the weather is nice
enough to spend a day at the beach. The parking lot fills up by noon (sometimes earlier), and cars with plates from Glynn,
Camden, Brantley and McIntosh counties start cruising the neighborhood streets looking for places to park.
Most end up parking along the "protected" marshlands, sometimes lining up over 1/2 way to Demere Road along the East
Beach Causeway. Others cruise the East Beach neighborhood or the residential areas along Wood Avenue. Out of frustration,
some end up encroaching on private property and getting towed. Traffic cops try to control things, and sometimes give tickets
to "ordinary" people who park too close to fire hydrants or intersections. It's a mess.
effective July 1, 2012. According to The Brunswick News, executive director Jones Hooks is blaming their budget problems on
higher fuel costs, state employee retirement costs, and of all things, an increase in the price of turtle medicine. In my opinion,
the Authority has totally lost focus on its mission. They should be returning the parking fee to $3, not raising it to $6. Perhaps
then they could retrieve some of the weekend customers they've run off in their zeal to become a "world class vacation and
Authority for the sole purpose of beautifying, improving, developing, enlarging, maintaining, administering, managing
and promoting Jekyll Island State Park at the lowest rates reasonable and possible for the benefit of the ordinary
people of the State of Georgia."
promote the Island as a world-class vacation and meeting destination."
past decade. A new 128,000 square foot convention center has just opened, Hyatt and Westin are developing hotel projects,
and 39 beach front cottages are being planned. Are these for the "ordinary" people?
another parking fee increase, they ought to take a head count of all the customers they ran off when they raised it from $3 to
$5 in 2009. And if they're not going to take the 1963 legislation seriously, then they should lobby the State to repeal it.
Contact the author: Patrick@StSimonsLetter.com
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