Great Dunes Park Opening Marks Revitalization Milestone for Jekyll Island

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Grand Opening Celebrated with Ribbon Cutting and Turtle Release

The Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) Board of Directors, staff, local dignitaries, local business leaders and members of the community gathered yesterday to commemorate the grand opening of Great Dunes Park with a ribbon cutting ceremony and picnic-themed celebration. Completion of the initial phase of what will ultimately become a 20 acre-beachfront space marks a major milestone in the revitalization project for Jekyll Island.

The ribbon cutting ceremony began in front of the park’s new beach deck with remarks by Jones Hooks, JIA Executive Director.

“The completion of the first phase of Great Dunes Park is significant because it serves as a visual reminder for everyone to understand what revitalization of Jekyll Island is all about,” stated Hooks. “We transformed an outdated parking lot into a wonderful park that provides new amenities and promotes social and recreational opportunities, especially for our day visitors. We have taken a tired space and revitalized it for all to enjoy!”

Bob Krueger, Chairman, JIA Board of Directors, and Representative Jerry Keen also shared their thoughts on Great Dunes Park during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Great Dunes Park is a testament to the positive change revitalization will bring to Jekyll Island,” stated Krueger. “I envision the park becoming a place where beach goers can enjoy a respite from the sun, families can enjoy picnics, and where fundraisers that benefit our community can be held. The benefits of this park are endless.”

Students from Frederica Academy, located on neighboring St. Simons Island, also took part in the ceremony by participating in a seed scattering of Black Eyed Susan’s, a native flower to Jekyll Island, in front of the new beach deck.

Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed a live performance from local band The Wharfratz and a catered BBQ lunch on the lawn.

The day concluded with the release of a small sea turtle into the ocean by Dr. Terry Norton of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to commemorate the park opening.

Currently Great Dunes Park offers public beach access, several picnic pavilions, restrooms and changing areas, and a large beach deck with a handicap ramp that extends out onto the sand. During the coming months, a children’s play area will also be added to the family-friendly space.

Future plans for the Park call for a total of 20 acres to be available for public enjoyment by the time revitalization is complete in 2012.

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Erica England
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