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Transforming Wallops Island into a Tourist Destination

Transforming Wallops Island into a Tourist Destination

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MELFA,Va.- Wallops Island may be known for its rocket launches now, but if  Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) has his way people will want to visit for several other reasons.

Governor McAuliffe (D-VA) delivered a "State of the Shore" address at the Eastern Shore Community College, where he spoke about his vision for the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He said his top priority is turning Wallops Island into a tourist destination. The NASA Wallops Flight Facility is  a key part of the plan, since the rocket launches draw people to the area.

He said he wants to develop the area around the facility. "We've got to make sure they [tourists] have hotels and motels and places to eat." Gov. McAullife (D-VA) said. " We've got to build a whole infrastructure around it which is certainly something we can do." 

Kevin McBride owns the Osprey Nest Art Gallery on Chincoteague Island, which is just up the road from Wallops Flight Facility. McBride has been creating and selling art there for 34 years. He said many tourists have stopped by his store, which helps the business.
"Launches, like Wallops is doing, are going to definitely increase and help all the businesses on the island, the restaurants, the motels,  the shops; there's definitely a lot of interest, " McBride said.

An interest that McBride hopes will grow as more people come to the area to see rockets launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
"There's no doubt that it will certainly help other businesses on the island," he said.

NASA authorized the Orbital Science Corporation to complete eight missions on its spaceport by 2016.  
James Webster, who traveled five hours with his family to the area, looks forward to seeing one of them.

"I'm very interested in it. I was in the military for eight years and I would love to see a rocket launch" Webster said.  The next rocket launch is scheduled for May 6 on Wallops Island. 
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