Empty Bay – Space Coast, Ghost Coast?

A couple of years ago, I traveled to Florida’s Space Coast and visited the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, FL. I had a great time. The area was even more interesting than I had expected, and my expectations were more developed than those a kid might have on a family outing to the Space Coast today. The names Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach were spoken in my house 5 days a week for 5 years. They came through the TV soaked in the comedy and magic of I Dream of Jeannie. In addition, the glamor of the place was also enhanced by the very real successes of the folks who lived there during my childhood. I was privileged to watch Neil Armstrong and the others walking on the moon through live TV broadcasts.

So, I had an idea of what Cocoa Beach would look like. It doesn’t look like that of course. It actually looks like a smaller, tamer version of Myrtle Beach, SC, but since I grew up vacationing at Myrtle Beach I adjusted to that very quickly. The images of my childhood, though, paled in comparison to my adult interests that were fully engaged by the close-up tour I took at the Kennedy Space Center and the excellent time I had birding the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. I was as happy to see the threatened Florida Scrub Jay from no less than 10 feet away as I was to walk around the enormous carcass of a Saturn V rocket lying on its side. [Flickr photos]

This reminiscing was sparked by an article I read this morning on Tampa Bay’s 10Connects.com titled: “Economically, Space Coast better off than when Apollo program ended.” The reference is to the unemployment the area is expected to suffer with the ending of the Shuttle Program this year and into early 2011. The overall impact on Brevard Co. will not be as great as it was when Apollo ended, although it will come on top of an already depressed economy in general. Real Estate prices might drop even further.

After I read the article the thought struck me — man, it would be a good time to get a beach house in Brevard Co. or even just take a birding vacation there in 2011 for Spring Migration. Eventually, there will another boom when the next manned-space flight program cranks ups, whether that will be aiming at the moon, at Mars, or at the asteroids in between, and prices and crowds will grow again.

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