Georgia's Downtown Conference

August 27, 2019 - August 30, 2019

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The 2019 Georgia Downtown Conference is scheduled for August 28-30 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Mobile Tours Descriptions (Included in Full Conference Registration)

Downtown Brunswick: From its birth in 1771 as a strategic colonial port of entry, Brunswick is uniquely infused with the charm of a northeast harbor while elegantly decorated with coastal landscapes and wildlife of the marshland south. Its architectural legacy, tree-lined streets and original squares reflect centuries of history and provide a framework for its future. Historic Downtown Brunswick is where southern charm meets college town contemporary. Home to one of Georgia’s largest concentrations of historic structures, downtown Brunswick has been experiencing renewed interest as a craft brew, distilling and vinting destination.

Recognizing the impending growth and the time for a focused work plan was at hand, the Downtown Development Authority and the City of Brunswick embarked on the Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan in 2017. This plan has provided a framework of achievable steps to get where the community wants Brunswick to go.

Recently completed projects will be highlighted, including the Richland Rum distillery, “The Wick” – a shared work space located in a historic hotel, and the newest addition, Silver Bluff Brewing. Along the way, local experts will talk about their portion of the RSVP and how the plan allowed some surprising collaborations to take place.

Historic Brunswick Beneath and Above: Ever wonder about the hidden spaces in our historic buildings? How did they keep a basement in coastal Georgia dry? How did they frame a roof to hold the weight of all those slates? Why does a building with no central heat have a huge chimney? Well, here’s your chance to find the answers to these and other burning questions!

On this tour, you’ll see the basements, attics and shut up spaces of some of Downtown Brunswick’s most historic buildings: Old City Hall (1889), Customs House / City Hall (1901) and the Ritz Theatre (1898). The tour includes strenuous physical activity (climbing ladders, negotiating catwalks) and areas of buildings that are not climate controlled. Closed-toe shoes and pants are required. You will be warm!

The Redevelopment of Jekyll Island: Trolley Tour OR Bike Tour (you may bring your bike or one will be supplied): The State of Georgia purchased Jekyll Island in 1947. Three years later, the Jekyll Island Authority was created. The Authority’s mission was to “oversee the conservation, development and stewardship” of the island and to provide access to the island to “all Georgians.” Jekyll’s history dates back to the founding of Georgia, though it’s probably best known as a playground for the nation’s wealthiest families during the Gilded Age. Jekyll Island itself comprises some 5,700 acres—a mix of forest, marshes, and ten miles of beachfront. In the early 2000’s, the island had become home to dilapidated hotels and a crusty convention center and tourism had dropped to a record low and everyone agreed that something had to be done.

In 2015, Governor Deal held a “rededication” of the Island. The event marked a milestone in a seven-year, nearly $195 million dollar reinvestment effort, once stalled by the recession and development hurdles. Most of the money came in the way of private investment, but taxpayers—through a state financing arm—also contributed $75 million toward the project.

Among the highlights of the project: the Jekyll Island Convention Center (opened in 2012, it’s the only beachfront convention center south of New Jersey) and a new Westin hotel on the beach. Both the hotel and the convention center are part of the new “Beach Village.”

Today, the Beach Village is home to an assortment of thriving shops and restaurants and two new hotels have joined the Westin as cornerstones of the Village. A new state-of-the art 4H center may be found at the south end of the island, new townhouses are popping up on both ends of the island and tourism is thriving. All of the new development had to occur without reducing any of the 65% land conservation area.

This tour will highlight the historic district, as well as the new development on the island

Event Location Information

Jekyll Island Convention Center

75 Beachview Drive North
Jekyll Island

Contact Location