Locals are fighting against the newly proposed 175-acre facility
When one thinks of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, they think of pristine cars sitting under swaying palm trees. Amelia Island is a small barrier island located on Florida’s northeast coast, and it has played home to Concours d’Elegance for the past 25 years. The lowkey island measures 13 miles in length and has a width of 4 miles at its widest point.
Now, the quaint community is up in arms over a new facility proposed to host future Amelia Concours d’Elegance events. Feeling as if the event has outgrown its current accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton, a new proposal is to build Amelia River Resort, a large facility that will cater to the car enthusiast and host future Concours d’Elegance events. In a letter to the City of Fernandina that has been posted on social media, they hope to continue to host the event on Amelia, but that hope springs largely on the proposed development.
Currently housing the golf course, Amelia Island Resort is planned on 175 acres and will include a hotel, performing arts center, fitness center with a pool, event space, auto museum, and specialized driving experiences in the form of a road course, autocross area, and skid pad.
In addition, family entertainment will come from an electric karting course, bowling, and a trampoline park. FA 115-mile untouched conservation area will include walking trails and picnic areas. Another area that is adjacent to the Fernandina Municipal Airport will be improved to allow airport hangers that will alleviate the waitlist for pilots looking to store their airplanes.
Update: The Amelia Island River Resort will no longer have a road course, autocross course, skid pad, electric go-karting, performing arts center, bowling, or trampoline park! Read further for more updates.
Locals have taken to social media to express their concerns over the proposed facility. A Facebook group called Conserve Amelia Now is leading the charge. Concerned residents believe that the facility will take away from Amelia’s natural charm and add traffic congestion around the island and on the connecting road to the mainland. Also, locals are against the cutting of trees needed to make room for the large facility and are worried about the noise that will come from the tracks.
According to the proposal, the tracks will be designed to minimize the impact of sound and will follow the noise ordinance. Also, the Amelia Concours team believes that the new resort will positively impact the economy by providing new jobs, creating tax revenue, and benefit local businesses. Since no residential housing developments are being built, they believe that traffic won’t be a major issue. In addition, golf cart traffic will be nonexistent due to the elimination of the golf course.
If the new facility is denied, it looks like Amelia Concours may be seeking somewhere else to host the Concours after two and half decades. If it is approved, there will be plenty of displeased locals. What side do you stand on?
Amelia Concours d'Elegance reached out to us to provide more information regarding the story.
"No one on the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance staff or board of directors has any financial or business connection to the proposed facilities and we are not the developers.
When the leadership team of the proposed Amelia River Resort asked for our endorsement we were assured that the resort was not a race track. They advised that a portion of the facilities would include a road course for test drives of muffled street cars. The team informed us of restaurants, a recreational facility and a new hotel where guests could find additional accommodations. The automotive theme and family-friendly nature of the proposal made sense. It was our hope that the resort could build upon the foundation of The Amelia’s success and create a year-round revenue stream for local businesses and provide additional positive economic impact on the island. Additionally, the proposed Amelia River Resort provided an outlet that would have allowed us to add more experiential aspects to the event.
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has no intention or plans to move the event, now approaching its 25th anniversary, anywhere else. To that effect, we have a contractual commitment with the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island for the foreseeable future."
Additionally, an employee of the media firm for the Amelia River Resort Development has reached out and clarified some changes of plans that took place within the last couple months.
No longer will the Amelia River Resort have a road course of any kind, an autocross course, skid pad, electric go-karting, performing arts center, bowling, or trampoline park. Also, it has been passed along that there will be minimal disruption to existing trees, and that, in fact, more than 70 percent of the development will remain green space.