April 16, 2024
Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach Pier
Indian River Lagoon
Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park
Kayaking on Indian River Lagoon
King Center
The King Center, opened to the public in 1988, is receiving a $1.9 million upgrade.
Merritt Island
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

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Living on the Space Coast

Susan Shalhoub | 3/11/2020

Living here means built-in beauty, cultural and natural amenities.

Brevard County has an extraordinary natural environment that, along with its A-rated schools, cultural opportunities and economic diversity, makes it a great place to live. Its leaders know this and work to protect it.

Canaveral National Seashore is the largest stretch of undeveloped beachfront on the East Coast, 24 miles. The federally protected land is home to about 1,000 plant species and over 300 species of birds, according to the National Park Service.

Cocoa Beach boasts a boardwalk, rideable waves and the world’s largest surfing store, Ron Jon Surf Shop, open 24 hours a day. Kayak rentals, Cocoa Beach Skate Park, eateries and shops provide constant entertainment.

Protecting all that’s good

Encompassing over 20 miles, Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is a habitat for sea turtles.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge envelops 140,000 acres. Established in 1963 as a buffer to Kennedy Space Center, it’s home to bobcats, as well as birds and fish, including endangered species such as the Florida scrub-jay and West Indian manatee.

Water innovation

The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program (IRLNEP) is working to manage the fragile ecosystem of the 156-mile Indian River Lagoon Estuary. It’s home to about 4,000 species, says Duane De Freese, IRLNEP executive director.

The Indian River Lagoon contributes $7.6 billion to the regional economy, says De Freese, with independent estimates revealing that for every $1 spent on estuary restoration, $20 to $33 in value comes back to the community.

De Freese and Lynda Weatherman — head of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast — see the area as uniquely positioned to lead global clean-water innovation while adding jobs.

Nature and culture abound

Brevard is a natural beauty offering stellar opportunities for living and working.

The 20,000-acre master-planned community of Viera includes 77 neighborhoods as well as thousands of acres of managed protected land, conservation area, parks and open spaces. Viera has attracted more than 725 businesses and more than 10,000 jobs. Developed by The Viera Company, the community includes a mix of land uses. The company’s parent organization, A. Duda & Sons, Inc., donated nearly 1,000 acres for uses including the Brevard County Government Center, Brevard School Board, Justice Center, Brevard Zoo, a VA Clinic, school sites and park facilities.

There are more than 50 museums and art galleries. The six-story Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne has showcased Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy and Jersey Boys in addition to comedy, ballet, opera and other performances — seating over 2,000.

“The beach is right here — it’s one of the more beautiful places that’s still affordable,” says Bill Guyan, senior vice president and general manager, land electronics, Leonardo DRS, who moved his family to the area. “It’s also never tiring to see a rocket go off.”

Tags: Space Coast, Brevard Community Portrait

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