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City Council Honors Marine Corps For Boosting Local Economy

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Raymon Troncoso
/
WJCT News
Marine Corps Colonel Riccoh Player addresses a small audience at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville.

Outgoing Jacksonville City Council President Tommy Hazouri presented the U.S. Marine Corps with a resolution honoring the military branch Monday as their 6-month operation at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, located Downtown, comes to a close.

The Marines have used the Hyatt since Jan. 10 for their East Coast quarantine operation. New Marine recruits, called poolees, are held at the Hyatt for two weeks as part of COVID-19 safety protocol before they are sent to the Marines’ basic training facility in Parris Island, South Carolina.

Hazouri was joined by Visit Jacksonville President Michael Corrigan and the Hyatt’s General Manager Joe Hindlsey in thanking the Marine Corps for choosing Jacksonville and the Hyatt.

“As a whole, all 19 members (of City Council) co-sponsored this bill in support of our Marines, in support of our military,” Hazouri said. “But for y’all to do what you did, especially during the pandemic, it has meant a lot to this city economically, job wise and otherwise.”

The resolution credits the Marines with bringing over $26 million in economic benefits to the city, with $18 million being tied to a contract the military had with the Hyatt.

Colonel Riccoh Player accepted the resolution on behalf of the Marines, and in turned thanked the Hyatt for serving as the base of the operation.

According to Player, the Jacksonville Hyatt was chosen after previous quarantine locations at The Citadel and in Atlanta were no longer viable.

“(The Marine Corps) relocated here to the picturesque backdrop of Jacksonville, tremendous, absolutely tremendous,” Player said. “ I can’t thank you enough, we’re thankful for the unparalleled hospitality.”

The Marines rented out the Hyatt’s main guest room tower for poolees, and over 7,000 moved through the hotel on their way to Parris Island.

The military follows COVID-19 guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which have been loosening as the national vaccination rate increases.

The quarantine operation is set to end July 11.

Raymon Troncoso can be reached at rtroncoso@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @RayTroncoso.