Disney’s “Last Song” Chapel Goes to Stacye Jarrell

January 22, 2010 by  
Filed under News

The Editor
Photos by Chris Hornaday

Tybee Island, GA. Cullen Chambers, Executive Director of the Tybee Island Historical Society announced on Dec. 22, 2009 that ownership of the ‘little chapel’ temporarily constructed on a residential lot during filming of “The Last Song” has officially been transferred to Stacye C. Jarrell owner of Oceanfront Cottage Rentals on Tybee Island.

Upon departure, Disney/Touchtone Pictures gave the building to the Board of Directors of the Tybee Island Historical Society, who intended to move it to the Tybee Light Station grounds. But the opportunity to fulfill a 15 year mission statement prompted them to take possession of the original Tybee raised cottage next door to Tybee’s IGA Market which was recently gifted them by Mike Hosti. Plans are now underway to relocate it to the lighthouse grounds instead of the chapel.

According to Chambers, the chapel was offered to The City of Tybee Island, but the council hesitated to take on what is sure to be an extensive and expensive project citing other facilities such as the campground, guard house, gymnasium and cafeteria that already draw heavily on city coffers.

In anticipation of the transfer Jarrell went before the Tybee Planning Com-mission and gained approval of a proposal to relocate the 1,800 sq. ft. building to a commercial lot at 1112 Highway 80 East and transform it into a special events meeting hall. The project will not require any variances when it goes before the City Council on January 14th, but construction costs are estimated to be well over $600,000.00 without land costs. The plan is to bring the building completely up to code and into compliance with ADA guidelines. The new owners will also present a proposal for parking, noise control, and plan to provide off-duty police officers to help enforce City ordinances. Of course, all association with the name “Disney” or “Miley Cyrus” is strictly prohibited the new owners, still the new “Tybee Chapel” will be available by reservation as a venue for local events, and weddings.

Jarrell believes the move to keep the chapel on Tybee is well worth the effort and expense, and that it will positively impact the island, especially as a wedding destination. “I see it as a way to help Tybee begin to rebuild our economy!” Chambers, who spoke on behalf of the project at the Planning Commission meeting agrees. “I said months ago when we got the little church from Disney, it would have definitely been an opportunity missed had we lost it. Thankfully, these folks have now stepped up to the plate. They deserve the community’s support!” Jarrell, along with husband Lannie are seeking financing from several banks and will also need final approval for the project, but want to begin immediately after the vote by City Council.

The task ahead is extensive and Jarrell admits there are serious obstacles. In order to move the structure from its present location, the roof must be removed. Once transported, it must be lifted to an eight foot height and located on a lot large enough to meet City and State codes regarding elevation, occupancy, parking and ADA specifications. Two ADA bathrooms are required. It needs a brides’ dressing room, a kitchen, and a groom’s restroom. But the proposed lot at 1112 Highway 80 East offers an adequate amount of space with room to maneuver, so the couple is very hopeful that they will be able to address any issues that arise.

Stacye Jarrell also mentions that noted Tybee preservationist, historian, and friend Jane Coslick greatly influenced her decision. Jarrell says she’d called Coslick about an unrelated matter, just as Coslick was on her way out of the meeting where she’d just learned that the Tybee Island Historical Society wasn’t going to be able to place the little church at the lighthouse. “Jane was very concerned,” Jarrell says, “so I encouraged her to see if the committee would reconsider.” But Coslick then asked Jarrell if she would take it. “At that moment I said I would, just to placate her, but then I began to really think how this might help Tybee’s economy, and bring in jobs and money, so I spoke with my friend, Paul Jackson, Chairman of the committee. He encouraged me to really consider how important the chapel was to Tybee.”

Jarrell says Paul Jackson then met with Cullen Chambers, President Jim Kluttz, and other members of the Historical Society to discuss how the Jarrells could take over the structure. Jackson admits he, Coslick and fellow committee member, Sally Jett were particularly concerned. “The Historical Society didn’t have the funds to handle both the chapel and the raised cottage, so in line with our mission statement we choose the cottage. But we knew if something didn’t happen fast, rather than continue to pay the $2500 per month to rent the lot off 13th St., we’d have to tear the chapel down.” Jackson is the grandson of Tybee’s last Lighthouse Keeper – he and wife Terry are also close friends of the Jarrells, the main reason he has confidence in the project’s success. “It’s a big commitment on Stacye’s part,” he adds, “but if anybody can do it, she can!”

For more information about the plan or the chapel, Stacye Jarrell may be reached at 912-507-3939. Inquiries may also be directed to Oceanfront Cottage Rentals, LLC, 800-786-5889 or 912-786-0054, or their website at http://www.oceanfrontcottage.com.

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One Response to “Disney’s “Last Song” Chapel Goes to Stacye Jarrell”
  1. What a great resource!

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