There’s bad news, there’s good news; and then there’s a big opportunity!
The bad news: We have just come through more than a year of COVID-19, with its personal, medical and business impacts. We don’t need to be reminded!
The good news: The challenge is beginning to recede, federal stimulus funds are beginning to flow to Florida, and we are turning toward the future. Moreover, the Kennedy Space Center is the leading spaceport in the world, promising more investment, jobs and a bright future for Brevard County.
A big opportunity: Economic developers and environmentalists alike are recognizing that stimulus dollars could simultaneously benefit the Space Coast’s two most valuable assets: the space industry and the Indian River Lagoon.
As the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast puts it: “Funding to enhance and grow the world’s preeminent 21st-century launch complex for civil and commercial (use) … will pay dividends for Brevard County, the state of Florida and our nation. Whereas … restoration and stewardship (of) … the lagoon is an economic driver in its own right with respect to tourism, recreation and real estate. A Win/Win.
Yes, Brevard should speak with a harmonized voice to our federal and state leaders to emphasize how selected federal investments from the 2021 Recovery Act, and any further infrastructure funding, can both enhance our growing spaceport and help to restore the lagoon. Here are a few examples:
Accelerate improvements to east-west routes into KSC, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Port Canaveral. This will improve access, future-proof against rising sea level and enhance circulation in the lagoon improving water quality.
Develop a new 21st-century wastewater treatment plant at KSC utilizing leading edge technology to ensure proper treatment for waste from the growing site and to protect lagoon water quality.
The convergence of space, clean water through infrastructure is one of the rare cases where a win/win should generate broad bipartisan support. Let’s do this.