Cocoa Beach hires consultant to help improve development

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COCOA BEACH, Fla. - The city of Cocoa Beach has hired a consultant to improve development.

A1A and State Road 5-20 sit at the gateway to Cocoa Beach's uptown, but, there's not much at the intersection that tells visitors they've arrived in Cocoa Beach.

"Here, it's kind of like you go through the parking lot, walk to the beach and that's that," said visitor Gus Ibrahim.

Cocoa Beach has hired a consultant that's taking a closer look at a number of ideas generated by both the city and the public. Those ideas include everything from developing an empty lot, to urban landscaping and transforming cell towers into surfboards.

"We're not going to become Coney Island or Myrtle Beach, but we can be more than a parking lot," said Mayor Dave Netterstrom.

And the city envisions locations like Shephard Park might be more than a place to park cars.

"You know what we're seeing are these buses of the cruise ships," said resident Jerry Hanlon. "They're going to draw more and more people here.  The port is growing. You have to get with the times."

The city will spend roughly $160,000 on its uptown blueprint over the next two years. And it must tie into existing plans for downtown Cocoa Beach.

"I think once we get done with this plan, the private sector will be ready to do something with it," said Netterstrom.

The city hopes to get a look at a preliminary blueprint in a couple of months.