SpaceX hasn't received a warm welcome from everybody in the Brownsville area.
Those with homes close to the launch site saw their once remote beach community overrun by SpaceX employees and rocket construction. The company has now purchased the vast majority of the homes in the area once called Boca Chica Village.
When the Federal Aviation Administration, which licenses commercial rocket launches, was carrying out an environmental assessment, a public comment period aired the voices of many local residents strongly opposed to the idea, as well as some fervent supporters who weren’t necessarily from the area.
Overall, however, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño told CNN that he views SpaceX as a massive boon to the area.
CEO Elon Musk pledged to donate around $10 million to an effort to revitalize downtown Brownsville. Treviño said he couldn't confirm if the full amount had been donated, but he said Musk money has already gone to some key projects, including replacing street lamps. Musk also invested about $20 million in local schools.
SpaceX has also drawn tourism to the area, Treviño said, as evidenced by the massive turnout of spectators Thursday.
"This is the type of generational change that can impact the community for a long, long time," Treviño added. "And for a community such as ours, that's been economically distressed — unfortunately, one of the poorest areas in the country — the investment, the commitment to the community has been a very positive economic development."