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Plan for Jekyll Island needs to consider public

As co-founder of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island, I would like to commend Dick Yarbrough for his insightful commentary on the Jekyll development situation. He is absolutely right, Jekyll is in serious need of a face-lift.

However, while nearly all of Jekyll's friends want to see the park improved, few believe that Jekyll's revitalization requires commercializing its most popular beach. That 8 percent of the island's shoreline referred to by Mr. Yarbrough happens to be home to Jekyll's most accessible and tide-friendly public beach. That beach is a landmark on Jekyll, a natural feature that stands out along the southeast coast, where beachfront condos and commercial hubs are a dime a dozen.

What's been lost in the debate over the Linger Longer project is that the original town center concept called for a 24-acre development site that did not eat up the main public beach. Unfortunately, this plan has been discarded in favor of a 63-acre town center that would not only hog the best beach but line it with half-a-million dollar condos.

If a statewide referendum were to be held on the merits of Linger Longer's proposal, I would wager that most Georgians would vote for an unobstructed beach over an oceanfront town center. Perhaps some of our state's newspapers might offer to poll their readers on this issue so we could establish what it is that Georgians want for their state park. After all, as Mr. Yarbrough said, Jekyll "belongs to all of us."

- David Egan

Jekyll Island