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Monday, March 12, 2012 - 2:30am

Jekyll Island Targets Lost Conventions

Dozens of groups are already booking meetings at Jekyll Island's new convention center, though the doors won't open for another two months.

The 128,000-square-foot convention center is the centerpiece of a $50 million makeover. The renovation is aimed at reversing years of slumping vacation and meeting business on the state-owned island. Construction wrapped up last month, and Gov. Nathan Deal is scheduled to attend the grand opening May 20.

Jekyll Island spokesman Eric Garvey said about 200 meetings and conventions have already been booked. He said the island's staff is working to win back groups that moved their annual gatherings from Jekyll to other resorts in places like Florida.

A group of about 1,000 Rotary Club members and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia are two former Jekyll Island customers who have said they might come back.