Palm Bay breaks ground on new tech center

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PALM BAY, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott joined nearly a dozen other dignitaries Tuesday to break ground on what will be Palm Bay's largest buildings.

The Harris Corporation Technology Center will sit along Troutman Boulevard just south of Palm Bay Road, which has some residents upset.

Residents in a nearby neighborhood said they're getting the short end of the stick and will have a tougher time getting out of their neighborhood because of Harris' big plans.

With golden shovels in hand, politicians and Harris execs started to turn dirt, marking the construction of the new $100 million technology center.

"They own 198 acres," said resident Susan Kross. "You can't tell anyone they could not have placed it in any other location."

Kross and other neighbors are upset with the City Council and Harris over plans to turn Troutman into a dead -end street in front of the building and force parking lots to empty onto Clearmont Street, leading into their small neighborhood.

Kross said estimates show 10 times as much traffic will pass her neighborhood soon.

Scott touted the fact the building will keep Harris from moving out of state along with more than 5,000 employees.

"Great companies like Harris you want them to expand in our great state, you want them to expand here," he said.

Harris CEO Bill Brown said they are already trying to address the traffic

"We are working very, very carefully and closely with the council here in Palm Bay over the concerns that have been raised," Brown said.

But Kross said she has her doubts.

"I certainly hope they will come through," she said. "They haven't done anything we have asked. They have flat out turned down everything we've requested."

Neighbors also said they were kept in the dark about the plans, including the road changes, for two years.