Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SAVING TWITTY PARK; Environmentalists Sue to Preserve a Piece of St. Simons Island

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SAVING TWITTY PARK; Environmentalists Sue to Preserve a Piece of St. Simons Island

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Morrison

BRUNSWICK | In 1924, businessman T.L. Cain gave Glynn County a couple of acres of land on St. Simons Island to be used as a public park.

After a series of land swaps - and another one planned - the site is in private hands now, and environmentalists have sued to compel whoever ends up with the wooded land to maintain it forever as a public park.

Cain ran a furniture store and lived in what was then the quiet Black Banks area before development overtook the island. The park on the east side of Frederica Road was called Cain Park until it was renamed years later as Twitty Park after a local politician.

In time, the park was bisected by a new road that ran out to the Sea Island resort. Its usefulness was further compromised when the county deeded the land over to the Sea Island Co. in 1982, and when the company later carved it up some more with entrance easements to buildings it owned on adjacent property.

Since Sea Island Road was put in, Cain's land has been viewed as a beautiful, oak-lined gateway to the posh resort, but the iconic trees now are threatened by proposed improvements to the heavily used intersection.

As a condition of his gift to the county, the property was to revert to Cain or his heirs if the county ever failed to maintain it as a public park. That time has long passed, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month in Glynn County Superior Court.

The Glynn Environmental Coalition, the GEC, and Sea Island resident Jane Fraser, who have acquired reversion rights to the property from Cain's heirs, are plaintiffs in the suit that names Glynn County and SIA PROPCO II, LLC as defendants. PROPCO is one of several entities that took over the island when the Sea Island Co. declared bankruptcy several years ago.

The Glynn Environmental Coalition and Fraser claim in the lawsuit that the land should have reverted to Cain's heirs several times in the past starting with the construction of Sea Island Road. …

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