Brevard Officials Travel To D.C. To Secure Beach Funding
By Don Walker, Brevard County // February 25, 2015
Cocoa Beach Among Best Restored Beaches
ABOVE VIDEO: Cocoa Beach will be recognized Wednesday for being one of only four U.S. beaches named a 2014 “Best Restored Beach” by The American Shore and Beach Preservation in a ceremony in Washington D.C. Brevard government officials are in D.C. Wednesday to meet with members of Brevard County’s Congressional delegation to promote continued funding for beach renourishment, and support for construction of a new Emergency Operations Center and Communications Center.
Officials Look For Support of Emergency Operations Center Construction
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard County government officials are in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to meet with members of Brevard County’s Congressional delegation to promote continued funding for beach renourishment, and support for construction of a new Emergency Operations Center and Communications Center.
District 2 Commissioner Jim Barfield, Tourism and Development Commission Director Eric Garvey, Emergency Management Director Kimberly Prosser and Michael McGarry, beach project coordinator and environment scientist with Natural Resource Management Department, are attending the 2015 Coastal Summit and will meet this week with legislative aides for Sen. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio and Rep. Bill Posey.
Separate meetings are scheduled on beach renourishment funding and on the need for a co-located Emergency Operations and Communications Center.
Florida’s Space Coast officials are working with federal officials to secure an additional $5.4 million to finish the Mid Reach section of the Space Coast, the third and final phase of the project.
The Mid Reach phase includes Indian Harbour Beach, Satellite Beach and Melbourne.
The project uses a combination of matching federal, state and local tourism tax investment.
Those meetings are scheduled through Thursday.
This week, the county’s efforts to protect its 72-mile-long coastline from threats posed by beach erosion will receive national recognition as one of four U.S. beaches named a 2014 “Best Restored Beach” by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.
An estimated $39 million in federal funds have helped restore North and South Reaches of Space Coast beaches, including Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral and Indialantic, creating healthy habitats for coastal wildlife and tourist recreation.
Beach tourism provides direct and indirect benefits in Brevard of an estimated $1.6 billion annually.
Since 2000, more than $134 million in county, state and federal dollars have been spent on sand replacement along Brevard County beaches.
Earlier this month, the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that asked for state and/or federal funding to construct an Emergency Operations facility that will enhance local and regional public safety, as well as national security.
Brevard County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is the most frequently activated in the state and second-most-activated in the nation, primarily due to rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The county, however, is also vulnerable to storm surge, tornadoes, flooding and high winds resulting in severe property damage and to potential loss of life from the effects of a hurricane or tropical storm, among other hazards.
Brevard has the second-oldest Emergency Operations Center of Florida’s 67 counties, as well as the oldest and smallest EOC in the region, at 50 years old and 11,000 square feet.
It is an initiative of the State of Florida to co-locate and consolidate 911 communication centers, but Brevard County has 11 different public safety answering points.
A spatial needs analysis has already been completed for a facility which would encompass an EOC floor, co-located law enforcement/fire 911 communications dispatch center, traffic management center, 800 MHz public safety radio system administration, E911 administration, Emergency Management administration and logistical space.
“This is a trip in which we’re working to secure millions of dollars for completion of Mid Reach beach restoration and also financial support for a new Emergency Operations Center, so the ultimate gain for Brevard County will far exceed the cost of the trip,” said County Manager Stockton Whitten.
Based on approved travel by the Board of County Commissioners, airfare, hotel, 2015 Coastal Summit registration and rental car amounts to about $1,000 per person.
BEFORE AND AFTER BREVARD COUNTY BEACH IMAGES