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High Joblessness but opportunities abound in the home of U.S. space flight
60 Minutes recently did a program on Brevard County on the effects of the layoffs at Kennedy Space Center. The program painted a pretty bleak picture of the area which I don’t think was really justified.
I also worked on the space shuttle program(Senior Scheduler on the Columbia Vehicle for Rockwell Int’l) from ’79 to ’81 & ran a company for 32 years(ShuttleProducts.com)
The question is did Nasa & the Obama administration betray the people of the United States and lie about supporting the program. Well I think there’s an argument to made for that view seeing how Brevard County is strongly Republican & if anything the Obama Presidency is all about supporting his leftist base. A President who’s values seems to be focused on promoting abortion & homosexuality & little about the plight of the average middle class American. Yes, there were promises to keep the workers at KSC employed and to build another vehicle that were never kept but the reality is the program is over and what does the future hold for Titusville & Brevard County.
Brevard is actually doing quite well overall and is home to many high tech co’s. In August 2009, Florida Trend rated two Brevard companies, Harris Corporation and Health First Health Plans in their rankings of the best places to work in Florida.In May 2009, the south Brevard area was ranked as the #8 tech center in the United States by Bizjournals.Forbes magazine ranked Melbourne 2nd out of 150 metropolitan areas in the US, for the percentage of the population that are engineers, 6.6%, just ahead of Silicon Valley and creating what’s called “Silicon Valley East”. Along with Orlando & Tampa this area is an Official High Tech Corridor with many high tech companies like DRS, Harris, GE, Northrop Grumman, & Lockheed. Embraer just picked Melbourne airport to be it’s home for building executive jets employing hundreds.In 2010 Kiplinger.com rated the county one of five “best” places in America to retire. Factors evaluated included cost of living, weather, the number of doctors,taxes, crime rates and recreational opportunities. In 2005, Inc. magazine voted the Space Coast as the best place to do business in Florida and sixth in the country. American City Business Journals rated Brevard 7th for quality of life out of 67 communities.Nearby Port Canaveral is the world’s busiest cruise port.
I’ve been saying for years that North Brevard was going to get the major hit from the layoffs with communities south having less of an impact-perhaps Merritt Island south. Titusville has had a troubled economy for years though I always thought it was a great place to live. Playalinda Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida with good surf and fishing. Great people in Titusville & wonderful churches like the one I went to for years- Park Avenue Baptist Church. Titusville means “City of Refuge” & I always thought it was a great place to call home though I moved south to Melbourne to live on the ocean in ’96. However, the 2 malls we had when I was growing up either are closed or mostly vacant and other than a few restaurants & bowling alleys- the river, beach and ballfields seem to be where people have their fun. Most shop in Merritt Island & Melbourne or drive to Orlando where they also find their entertainment & fine dining.
The issue of what’s going to happen to North Brevard is an interesting one. I go there every week to see my Dad who still lives in Titusville & I really don’t see a huge difference or deterioration in the last 6 months. I see some homes for sale but I see that everywhere. What I see in Titusville is a sleepy little town that is a great place for businesses to move to, an educated workforce, a motivated county commission that offer incentives to business, a great place for retirees & snowbirds to pick up properties and a changing space industry that over time will pick up the slack for the retired Shuttle. SpaceX, Boeing & a number of other companies are rushing to fill the void the shuttle left behind. In time I think Titusville will do what it always has done…survive booms and busts and offer it’s residents a quiet and peaceful life without much traffic or hassle. A good place to call home.
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