“Hockey stick” graphs certainly draw the eye, detailing a period of slightly variable change until events take a dramatic turn. That would appear to be the case with Faith Chapel on Jekyll Island, which more than doubled its attendance from 2015 to 2017.
Bruce Piatek, director of historical resources for the Jekyll Island Authority, laid out the specifics Tuesday morning at the JIA Board of Directors meeting.
“Last calendar year, we had almost 2,300 people go through that building,” Piatek said. “As you can see from the chart, that was a fairly dramatic increase in the public’s use, access and benefit from that historic building. A key component to our change was that we installed permanent, full-time tour guides to provide historical interpretation of the building.”
He said the chapel is open for two hours of contemplation in the morning, followed by an interpretive program running 10 a.m.-4 p.m. With around $16,000 of assistance from the Friends of Historic Jekyll Island, work is ongoing to repair and rework the heating and air conditioning system, improved lighting and work on the flooring. A discovery revealed the wood floor previously had a deep red stain to it, and people are in the process of restoring it to its original condition.
At Mosaic, the new Jekyll Island museum, work continues. Piatek said they are about 60 percent complete on the design components for the museum exhibits.
“It’s a pretty amazing transformation — even though the building looks fairly rough inside, the drama of the exposed wood beams and the character of the structure, I think, are really going to be an asset to this new gallery and new museum exhibit, in its entirety,” Piatek said. “We’re going to be addressing the history of Jekyll Island from the Native American period right up to virtually yesterday, in talking about all the different eras, and each one will be addressed.”
In other matters, the board approved the 1 megawatt solar array previously discussed and planned for the island.
“The location of the project would be at the former landfill site, which is located in the interior of the island, east of Old Plantation Road,” JIA general counsel Daniel Strowe said. “The term on the lease would run for 30 years, as the initial term, with one 5-year option to renew, which would be for a total of 35 years over the life of the lease. The property size is approximately 5 acres of the total 34-acre former landfill site.”
Radiance Solar is developing the project, which is to result in $5,000 annual rent for the first four years and $27,400 for years five through 30, generating $732,400 for the initial term. The lower rent for the first few years is to compensate for installation costs. If renewed, the rent for years 31-35 runs at $31,000 annually, for a total of $887,400 for the entire 35 years of the lease.
The array is part of the Georgia Power Renewable Energy Development Initiative.
The beachfront rock revetment repair is ongoing as well, with the board approving a proposal by S.J. Hamill of Charleston, S.C., to get the revetment back to where it is supposed to be. The Hamill bid, according to JIA documents, was the lowest at $4.98 million, and the most detailed.
The next JIA board meeting is scheduled for May 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.