Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
On Florida’s Space Coast, a return to the ‘good days’ of launching astronauts is near with SpaceX flight
On July 21, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center for the last time, ending human spaceflight from the United States. Things were dark then — unemployment in Brevard County had bottomed out at 11.8% the year before. Talent was draining out of the Space Coast, some of it never to return. Some people thought NASA itself had completely shut down. What is space exploration without astronauts to launch? The upcoming launch will be an injection of life into a region that has built so much of its identity around being area code 3-2-1. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Brightline says local service will stay shut for months; Orlando route still on track
Virgin Trains USA, formerly known as Brightline, announced Wednesday that it is suspending service between downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach for “the coming months.” It did not say when service might resume. Meanwhile, the private rail company said it will continue construction on the link from West Palm Beach to Orlando. More from the Miami Herald.
Florida’s Legoland to reopen in June
The City Commission on Wednesday night gave a nod to the Legoland Florida Resort theme park reopening June 1 after General Manager Rex Jackson detailed the sanitation, social distancing and other restrictions it would operate under during the COVID-19 crisis. Jackson told the commissioners the park will open to a maximum 50% capacity — about 6,000 people — and will highly recommend, although not require, that all guests wear a face mask. It will provide complimentary face masks for guests who don’t bring them. More from the Florida Times-Union.
First-time real estate developer moves forward with $370M South Florida project
A first-time real estate developer is moving forward with his large scale, mixed-use development in Broward County. Guiseppe Iadisernia broke ground on the 10-acre, $370 million project Oasis Hallandale at 1000 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd. in early May. Located five minutes away from Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, the development includes five commercial buildings — with a total 59,219 square feet of retail and restaurant space — 34,691 square feet of office space, and 1,486 parking spaces, according to a press release. More from the Miami Herald.
Fort Lauderdale gyms should stay closed for now, city says
Gym owners in Fort Lauderdale could be risking fines of $15,000 a day if they decide to open, county officials warn. Fort Lauderdale officials told gyms they could open on Monday but are now switching gears and advising them to stay closed until Broward County says they can get back to business. Broward officials issued an order last week making it clear that they want gyms to remain closed until they say otherwise. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Florida Panhandle beach named best in U.S. for 2020
The sand along the coast of Grayton Beach State Park is so unique, some say it speaks to you. It’s compared to sugar, and is so white it’s almost blinding in bright sunlight. And people who have been cooped up because of stay at home orders can once again go walk along it and hear the unique sound the beach makes when bare feet sink in the sand.
» More from the AP.
Out of the Box
St. Pete Postcard Project
These times are very different for Sara Norine, who used to spend her days bringing art to her community: to various festivals, to students at the Morean Art Center, and to the Family Resources Youth Enrichment Program at the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center at Wildwood Park, where she is the arts program facilitator. Reflecting on the void of tourists in St. Petersburg led her to think of postcards and the concept of the postcard as a way to communicate with each other. The St. Pete Postcard Project was born.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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