Children and parents alike will be happy to hear about the new attraction that is expected to open this summer at Jekyll Island’s Summer Waves Water Park, the first new attraction in more than a decade for the 30-year-old water park.

The last new attraction, Splash Zone, was installed in 2006.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the Jekyll Island Authority Board of Directors approved $478,523 to go toward construction of Shark Tooth Cove, described as a much-needed and long-overdue improvement from the previous children’s area.

“I think this is a good value,” said Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority.

The total cost of Shark Tooth Cove will be just under $1 million, with all the investment coming from the Jekyll Island Authority.

The family-friendly attraction sits in the footprint of the old children’s area, but has been expanded to cover 8,800 square feet and will include a zero-entry pool, 10 slides of varying heights and lengths, and water features.

As a self-sustaining state park, the Jekyll Island Authority relies on Summer Waves as a significant revenue generator that supports multiple year-round island operations and services that do not generate revenue, including departments such as landscaping and roads and grounds.

Shark Tooth Cove is expected to open with the water park on Saturday, May 13.

In other business, after providing approximately six years of legal counsel to the Jeklly Island Authority Board of Directors, Senior Assistant Attorney General Nancy Gallagher is leaving the Georgia attorney general’s office.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve the Jekyll Board and staff,” Gallagher said during the meeting on Tuesday. “I will miss everyone.”

Board members thanked Gallagher for the years of advice and presented her with a gift.

Additionally, the board honored former Jekyll Island Authority Board Chairman Richard Royal by voting unanimously to name room 11 in the Jekyll Island Convention Center in his honor. The room will now be called the Richard Royal Marshside Boardroom.

Royal, of Camilla, was appointed to the board in March of 2009 by Gov. Sonny Perdue. In December 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed him as chairman.

The Jekyll Island Authority Board also approved the Weber Group Inc., to design and build the new Jekyll Island Museum MOSAiC Project.

Weber was selected from a field of 16 total requests for proposal respondents and six finalists. Proposals were received from firms across the United States.

“We were very impressed,” Hooks said. “We’ve done our due diligence in checking the company out.”

Based in Sellersburg, Ind., Weber specializes in family entertainment, commercial construction and complete facility maintenance and asset services.

Weber partnered with Main Street Design of Cambridge, Mass. on the RFP response. Main Street specializes in exhibit design and museum planning.

The Weber-Main Street team is expected to begin planning and design work with the authority for the new museum in May. Construction is expected to begin this fall with an anticipated completion and opening in early 2019.

As for hotel and gate reports, March hotel occupancy was flat at 74 percent year-over-year, but hotel revenue for the month was up more than $277,000 from 2016. Island traffic continued its upward trend, with a total of 103,771 gate entries, up from 98,686 entries in March 2016.

Additionally, a proposal was approved for engineering and design services to rehabilitate an existing ocean-facing shoreline rock revetment, along with associated upland restoration.

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