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If you’re going to do a job, you should really know your stuff.
For a journalist, the job requires holding those in power accountable for the votes and decisions they make.
But for an elected official, it’s knowing the people and area you represent so you can make the best informed decisions for your constituents.
The Brevard County Commission is no different. Each of our commissioners represent a uniquely different district on the Space Coast. Each district has its own issues, its own champions, its own problems and successes.
We asked each commissioner to name their favorite spot, location or attraction in their district. What’s the one place they would take a visitor if they could only pick one place. Of course, some of them sent multiple options, but here’s what your commissioners had to say:
For Brevard County Commission chair Rita Prichett, she quickly named a spot that perfectly showcases the epic views of the Indian River in the heart of Titusville – Marina Park.
“It is beautiful,” she said. “You can watch the kids skateboard, or ride dirt bikes. It has dog parks. The walk you can do along the lagoon is just really nice.”
The slightly more than 20-acre park sits just north of the Titusville Marina. According Brevard County Parks and Recreation, the facilities include a boat ramp and dock, BMX Bike course, skate park, playground, restrooms and a dog park.
It isn’t uncommon to find folks fishing from the park’s shore and provides a perfect spot for launch watching.
“It’s one of my favorite hangouts,” Pritchett said via email.
As a close second, Pritchett mentioned Playalinda Beach. Part of the Canaveral National Seashore, it is a pristine stretch of ocean front and an incredible spot to watch rockets launch.
“It is the best beach around,” she said. “It’s a natural beach and it’s just breathtaking and really makes you feel good while you’re there.”
Her sense of humor showing, Pritchett ended her email with a third option of her favorite place in District 1: “It’s a store, I pick Marshalls just because I spent a lot of money there 😂😂. I really love my community.”
“That is an easy answer,” read the response from District 2 Commissioner Tom Goodson’s office. “the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.”
Sitting just south of the dividing line between Districts 1 and 2, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is Brevard’s largest theme park. The facilities include a variety of attractions to awe and inspire the next generation of space explorers while keeping the history of crewed missions to space alive.
Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Experience allows you to explore the future of space by embracing exactly what’s happening now with crewed spaceflight.
Bus tours take you up close and personal with historic sites like the Vehicle Assembly Building or Launch Complex 39B – one of the two launch pads that flew the Space Shuttle.
The Space Shuttle Launch experience puts you in the cargo bay of a shuttle to feel what a launch was like. That experience ends with a one-of-a-kind encounter with Shuttle Atlantis.
“It is a must see place to visit and learn about the story of humans in space,” the email from the Goodson’s office stated. “Also, where else in the world but in the Space Coast, specifically in Brevard County District 2, can you visit such an incredible historical place that encompasses the past, the present and the future?”
Commissioner John Tobia also offered up multiple spots as his “favorite.”
The commissioner started his list of favorite places with Sebastian Inlet State Park.
Located on the south barrier island, the park sits on the northside of the man-made inlet into the Indian River Lagoon. The spot is well known for its surfing on the ocean side. The water is a little calmer by the tidal pool where you can often find families with smaller children. Most days, you’ll also spot someone fishing from the jetty.
“Sebastian Inlet State Park is a place where families can enjoy swimming and observing wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, and crabs,” Tobia said via email.
Showing his sense of humor, Tobia also offered Juan Ponce de León Landing in Melbourne Beach on the South Barrier Island. “This beautiful beachfront park is quiet, has no rocks, and is the site where historians have proven Ponce de León did not land,” Tobia said.
And not missing an opportunity to talk politics, Tobia also mentioned Malabar Scrub Sanctuary. The sanctuary located on the mainland in south Brevard is made up of more than 500 acres purchased through the Environmentally Endangered Lands program.
The “sanctuary consists of 557 acres of trails through a lush wildlife habitat; however, this park is closed due to a town more concerned with bike riding in the shade than best management practices to save the threatened scrub jay,” the commissioner said.
You can read more about that issue here: Brevard County prevails against Malabar in fight over scrub Jays and shady trees
New to the board of commissioners, Rob Feltner offered several options starting with an obvious choice: The Beach
“Any of the beaches from Canova to Seagull,” Feltner said via email. “Added bonus, if you have a dog, Canova is the only dog friendly beach in Brevard County.”
At just more than 9 acres, the park offers three dune crossovers — one of which is wheelchair accessible. According to Brevard County Parks and Recreation, “there is no cost to use the dog beach, however owners must pick up after their pets. Waste bags and proper receptacles are available.”
Feltner’s district covers a large swath of Brevard’s mainland including parts of Melbourne, Viera and Rockledge, but it also includes the barrier island from the Eau Gallie Causeway up to Pineda.
But also not one to land on a specific spot, Feltner also mentioned two other spots in his district.
“Wickham Park has many amenities, from the walking trails to camping to several interesting events hosted throughout the year.”
Adjacent to Eastern Florida State College’s Melbourne campus, Wickham Park is a 391.04-acre regional park features a wide variety of recreational opportunities.
Feltner also included what could easily be dubbed central Brevard’s main attraction: The Brevard Zoo.
It’s “sure to be a fun filled day for all ages. There is a walking trail, zip lining, kayaking and one can just enjoy seeing and learning about all of the animals.”
For commissioner Kristine Zonka, her favorite spot in District 5 is a little slice of Paradise – literally.
“My favorite spot is Paradise Beach in Indialantic,” she said via Facebook. “You can watch the sunrise, watch a launch, walk the beach just on the wave’s edge….while feeling that awesome breeze from the ocean, there is nothing more peaceful and beautiful.”
To access the sand, one need only pull into Howard E. Futch Memorial Park at Paradise Beach, conveniently sitting between the Melbourne and Eau Gallie causeways.
The park sits on more than 12 acres of beachfront and sports 3 dune crossovers, beach volleyball courts, a playground, several pavilions and ample parking.
“I love to go there with my husband,” she said. “It is definitely my one favorite place, and I wish I spent more time taking it all in. It’s a 10 minute walk (or 2 minute bike ride) from my house! I am very blessed.”
Rob Landers is a veteran multimedia journalist for the USA Today Network of Florida. Contact Landers at 321-242-3627 or email@example.com. Instagram: @ByRobLanders Youtube: @florida_today
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