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Melbourne is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 76,068. The municipality is the second-largest in the county by both size and population. Melbourne is a principal city of the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1969 the city was expanded by merging with nearby Eau Gallie.
Evidence for the presence of Paleo-Indians in the Melbourne area during the late Pleistocene epoch was uncovered during the 1920s. C. P. Singleton, a Harvard University zoologist, discovered the bones of a mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) on his property along Crane Creek, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Melbourne, and brought in Amherst College paleontologist Frederick B. Loomis to excavate the skeleton. Loomis found a second elephant, with a "large rough flint instrument" among fragments of the elephant's ribs. Loomis found in the same stratum mammoth, mastodon, horse, ground sloth, tapir, peccary, camel, and saber-tooth cat bones, all extinct in Florida since the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 years ago. At a nearby site a human rib and charcoal were found in association with Mylodon, Megalonyx, and Chlamytherium (ground sloth) teeth. A finely worked spear point found with these items may have been displaced from a later stratum. In 1925 attention shifted to the Melbourne golf course. A crushed human skull with finger, arm, and leg bones was found in association with a horse tooth. A piece of ivory that appeared to have been modified by humans was found at the bottom of the stratum containing bones. Other finds included a spear point near a mastodon bone and a turtle-back scraper and blade found with bear, camel, mastodon, horse, and tapir bones. Similar human remains, Pleistocene animals and Paleo-Indian artifacts were found in Vero Beach, 30 miles (48 km) south of Melbourne, and similar Paleo-Indian artifacts were found at Lake Helen Blazes, 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Melbourne.
After the Civil War, pioneer families arrived, and Melbourne was founded in 1867.
The first settlers arrived after 1877. They included Richard W. Goode, his father John Goode, Cornthwaite John Hector, Captain Peter Wright, Balaam Allen, Wright Brothers, and Thomas Mason.
The city, formerly called "Crane Creek", was named Melbourne in honor of its first postmaster, Cornthwaite John Hector, an Englishman who had spent much of his life in Melbourne, Australia. He is buried in the Melbourne Cemetery, along with many early residents in the area. The first school in Melbourne was built in 1883 and is on permanent exhibit on the campus of Florida Institute of Technology. By 1885, the town had 70 people. The Greater Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1885 and is still active.
In the late 1890s, the Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home opened and it is still in business. The oldest black-owned business in the county is Tucker's Cut-Rate plumbing. It opened in 1934.
In the early 1900s, houses were often built in the frame vernacular style.
In 1919, a fire destroyed most of the original downtown along Front Street. At the time, it was rebuilt west of US Hwy 1.
During the Jim Crow years, black people were required to enter movie theaters via a different entrance from whites and sit in the balcony. Gas stations had signs for rest rooms labeled "Men", "Women", and "Colored." This persisted until integration in the late 1960s.
In late 1942 the Naval Air Station Melbourne was established as a site to train newly commissioned Navy and Marine pilots for World War II. The program ran until 1946, and the land that was used for that program makes up most of what is currently the Orlando Melbourne International Airport.
In 1969, the cities of Eau Gallie and Melbourne voted to merge, forming modern-day Melbourne.
In the 1950s, Babcock Street was extended north to intersect with US 1. The Melbourne Shopping Center was constructed on Babcock, the area's first strip mall. Consumers were sufficiently attracted to this new mall, that the traditional downtown, off New Haven, suffered. Urban blight there was successfully attacked there in the 1980s.
A board was created by the legislature to spend a 10% tax on electric bills. This was used by the Melbourne Civic Improvement Board to build the Melbourne Auditorium, the first library and fire station, and various parks. The board was dissolved when Melbourne was merged with Eau Gallie in 1969. That merger doubled the size of Melbourne.
Streetlights were gradually added until, by the early 1960s, streets east of Babcock Street had lights. Lights were added to streets west of Babcock after the early 1960s.
In 1969, the city elected Julius Montgomery, its first black councilman. Mr. Montgomery was also the first African American student of Brevard Engineering College, later Florida Institute of Technology which named their Pioneer Award after him. Mr. Montgomery was also the first African American Professional hired by NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in 1956. His accomplishments are recounted in the chapter A Man of Firsts in the book We Could Not Fail by Richard Paul and Steven Moss We Could Not Fail by Richard Paul and Steven Moss
On August 2, 1995, the city received a record 9.06 inches (230 mm) of rainfall from Hurricane Erin.
During the week of August 22, 2008, a record 17.54 inches (446 mm) of rain fell caused by Tropical Storm Fay.
A 2009 Halloween street party sponsored by a downtown restaurant attracted an estimated 8,000–10,000 people. This overwhelmed the downtown area. Street parties were curtailed until public safety issues were addressed.
On 18 February 2017, president Donald J Trump held his first post-inauguration rally at the Orlando-Melbourne International drawing a crowd of 9,000.
Melbourne is located approximately 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Orlando on the Space Coast, along Interstate 95. It is approximately midway between Jacksonville and Miami. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.6 square miles (102.5 km2), of which 33.9 square miles (87.7 km2) is land and 5.7 square miles (14.8 km2) (14.42%) is water.
The east-west street named Brevard Drive was historically the "center" of town; with addresses called "north" and "south" of this street. The north-south Babcock Street provided the same centerline for "east" and "west" directions.
Melbourne Beachside has a small presence on the South Beaches barrier island. It is often confused with Melbourne Beach, a separate political entity.
Melbourne, Florida has a humid subtropical climate or Köppen climate classification Cfa – typical of the Gulf and South Atlantic states. Although Melbourne is classified as a Humid Subtropical climate (8 or more months with a mean temperature of 50 °F (10 °C) or higher), Melbourne is located far enough southward that it lies close to the broad transition zone from subtropical to tropical climates (all months have a mean temperature of 64.4 °F (18.0 °C) or higher). Melbourne averages 2,900 hours of sunshine annually. Melbourne has the typical two season climate commonly found in humid subtropical climates – a hot and wet season (late May through October) and the warm and dry season (November through April).
Melbourne averages 49 inches (1,200 mm) of rainfall annually, much of it coming in convective thunderstorms in the late May to early October time period. The record rainfall occurred on August 20, 2008, when Tropical Storm Fay dropped 18.21 inches (463 mm). Melbourne can sometimes have moderate to severe drought conditions from late fall through spring, with brush fires occurring and water restrictions put in place. The National Weather Service located at Melbourne International Airport averages 2.9 days per year with frost, although several years might pass without a frost in the city of Melbourne or at the ocean beaches. According to the National Weather Service, there is no record of snow or snow flurries in the city of Melbourne in the last 150 years.
Tropical flora typical of more southerly locations is grown in the Melbourne area (coconut palms, royal palms, Christmas palms, and bananas), but can be damaged or killed when subjected to infrequent light freezes or cooler temperatures, although several years might pass without a freeze in the Melbourne area. The Melbourne area has many lush gardens and public landscapes, and is noted for the botanical northern limit of cultivated coconut palms on the Florida East Coast.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the city to reduce pollution of the Indian River Lagoon, which it borders; about 80% of the city's landmass drains in the direction of the lagoon. The city must reduce run-off by 44,000 pounds (20,000 kg) of nitrogen and 13,000 pounds (5,900 kg) of phosphorus. The city responded by banning the use of fertilizer before flood and storm warnings.
As of 2010, there were 38,955 households out of which 12.6% were vacant. As of 2000, 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.82.
In 2000, the city the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.
The per capita income for the city was $19,175. In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $34,571, and the median income for a family was $42,760. Males had a median income of $32,242 versus $22,419 for females. In Melbourne, about 8.6% of families and 11.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, 90.39% of residents spoke English as their first language, while 4.69% spoke Spanish, 0.84% spoke French, 0.73% spoke German, and 0.55% spoke Arabic as their mother tongue. In total, 9.60% of the total population spoke languages other than English.
The Melbourne City Council consists of the mayor and six district council members. Melbourne uses a Council-Manager form of government.
The following are appointed by the council:
Melbourne city officials created the Babcock Street Redevelopment District in 1998 to stimulate new development along Babcock Street from U.S. 1 south to U.S. 192. A 218-unit apartment complex built in 2005 is most recent step in an effort to revitalize this area.
In 2010, Melbourne began supporting the Eau Gallie Arts District as a Florida Main Street. Established in 1860 along the Indian River, the arts district (now called EGAD!) has proven to be highly successful in its redevelopment of the community of art galleries, shops, restaurants, Melbourne's first microbrewery (Intracoastal Brewing Company), and contains the city civic center and public library with a public pier, Foosaner Art Museum, FIT, Historic Rossetter House and Gardens, Pineapple Park, several businesses over 40 years old, and a community park and band shell, which is the heart and soul of many community activities.
A $180.8 million Operating and Capital Budget was passed for the 2014–15 fiscal year.
In 2007, the city had a taxable real estate base of $4.96 billion.
A 2011 study rated the general pension fund for city employees highly at 190%. Less favorably rated were the pension plans for fire and police employees.
In 2009, the city had 870 full-time employees and 176 part-time employees.
In 2015, the city employed 168 sworn police officers, 68 support personnel, 21 part-time crossing guards, and six reserve police officers.
The city council appoints the Chief of Police. A Deputy Chief of Police oversees day-to-day operations. There are four Commanders who oversee the Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Support Services, and Special Operations divisions.
A 2009 survey indicated that the city was ranked 84 out of 400 in crime statistics, with #1 being the worst. Crimes included murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.
The Commander of the Patrol Division is responsible for all patrol functions. This includes the use of the police K-9 unit.
The Criminal Investigations Division investigates major crimes, vice and narcotic crimes, and follows-up investigation of other felonies. The Division has three focused units: Criminal Investigations, Crime Scene Investigation, and Special Investigations Unit. The division includes 30 detectives and detective supervisors, five crime scene investigators, and other technical and support personnel.
The Special Operations Division encompasses the Strategic Traffic Enforcement Unit, Community Resource Officers, Community Service Officers, and all the volunteer functions.
A Commander is responsible for the Public Information Office.
The Strategic Traffic Unit consists of motor officers and aggressive driving enforcement officers who are deployed day and night.
Under the Special Operations Division, there are specialty units such as SWAT, Dive Recovery Team, Marine Patrol Unit, and the Crisis Negotiation Team.
There are designated marine patrol officers who are assigned to waterway patrols. Some of the call-outs are completed in conjunction with other agencies, including the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and the Coast Guard. The Department may also be called upon to deal with homeland security issues related to the two main causeways in Melbourne, and can be involved in port and inlet security activities including the boarding of suspicious boats. Marine activities include patrols of canals in order to provide a police presence for homeowners and decrease waterfront crimes.
The Communications Center handles 130,000 calls to 9-1-1 and 1 million push-to-talk radio calls each year. Communication officers and dispatchers are the single link of our police officers and fire fighters, monitoring activities by radio and providing vital information to ensure their safety. The Communications Center receives, classifies, and prioritizes calls from the public and dispatches the calls that require police and/or fire/rescue response, and transfers and/or directs calls that do not require police response to the proper agency/unit. The Communications Center is a 24-hour operation, providing service seven days a week, including weekends and holidays.
Orlando Melbourne International Airport is located near the center of the city. Melbourne contains defense and technology companies with a high concentration of high-tech workers. The following corporations have operations in Melbourne:
In 2007, the average size of Melbourne's labor force was 39,391. Of that group, 37,708 were employed and 1,683 were unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 4.3%.
In 2008, 259 building permits were issued for 263 units. There were 209 permits issued for 320 units in 2007, which was down from 329 permits for 512 units in 2006.
The median home price in 2007 was $215,000.
In May 2005, the Melbourne–Titusville–Palm Bay area was among the top 20 in home price appreciation from 2003 to 2004.
In 2009, Forbes ranked the area 18th out of 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and first out of 8 metros in Florida for affordable housing, and short commute times, among others.
Melbourne has two downtown business districts, a result of the merger of Eau Gallie into Melbourne:
The area has four hospitals, day care for senior citizens, hospice, walk-in, and urgent care facilities. There is Holmes Regional Medical Center, Wuesthoff Medical Center Melbourne Campus, and Kindred Hospital which does not accept emergency patients. A new Viera hospital was opened in May 2011.
The city has two golf courses. There were 96,477 rounds played in 2009–10. Revenues were $2,207,502. Rounds and revenue have been dropping since 2006. in 2011, the city raised rates for residents to the same as for non-residents, $27 per round or $522 annual fee.
A monthly "Friday Fest" has been attended by 3,000 people and supported by 55 vendors.
In February or March:
There are three places on the National Register of Historic Places:
The following places also are historic:
EAU GALLIE Arts District has an established historical walking tour that includes over 20 historical buildings or locations in the arts district.
Melbourne was an official host city for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay.
There are co-ed adult and youth sports programs in flag football and ultimate frisbee.
The city of Melbourne contains over 554.72 acres (2.2 km2) of city park land, including 17 community parks, 13 neighborhood parks, and five smaller city parks.
One of the many forms of recreation is local fishing in places such as Lake Washington.
Of all residents 25 years or older, 88.5% are high school graduates, and 25.7% have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Public schools are run by the Brevard County School Board.
WFIT 90.7 FM—this radio station is an NPR station based on the grounds of Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne is part of the Orlando television market. Cable is provided by Spectrum.
The city is responsible for about 300 miles (480 km) of road. It would like to resurface 5% (15 miles (24 km)) of that each year. It was able to afford to pave half of that in 2013.
Roads in the older part of the city, in what is today the southeast, are oriented toward the north-south road, Babcock Street, with compass directions measured east and west from that road. In the same area, the east-west road, Brevard Drive, separates compass directions north and south.
All are at least four-lane roads, unless otherwise designated.
The Union Cypress Company Railroad ran east to west through south Melbourne in the early 1900s. The mill town of Hopkins was near the present-day streets of Mill Street and Main Street.
The Florida East Coast Railway runs through Melbourne, staying west of U.S. 1 through its entire run.
Melbourne International Airport (IATA: MLB, ICAO: KMLB, FAA LID: MLB) is located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northwest of the city's original business district. The airport has daily flights on six passenger airlines and a cargo one, including Delta, Delta Connection and American Eagle.
Power is provided by Florida Power and Light. Gas is provided by Florida City Gas.
Cable TV service is provided by Bright House Networks.
Traditional landline telephone service is mainly provided by AT&T, while some cable customers use Bright House Networks digital telephone (VOIP) service.
Internet service providers in Melbourne range from various 56 kbit/s providers, AT&T (formerly BellSouth) FastAccess DSL, and Bright House Networks cable internet, which uses Road Runner as their ISP. Fiber-optic networks are installed in the city mainly for business purposes and have not been integrated for home use.
The Water Department not only provides water for the city, but for surrounding towns and cities for a premium, including Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Satellite Beach, Palm Shores, Melbourne Village, and a portion of Brevard County. In 2016, it served about 150,000 people. Wholesale water service is provided to West Melbourne. The total distribution area is about 100 square miles (259 km2) Two water treatment plants take water from Lake Washington and deep wells, providing 25,000,000 US gallons (95,000,000 litres; 21,000,000 imperial gallons) of drinking water per day. This water is treated with chloramine and ozone. In 2003, water rates were $2.27/1,000 US gallons (3,785 l) sewer $4.47/1,000 US gallons (3,785 l).
Solid waste removal and recycling is provided by Solid Waste Management, part of the city of Melbourne's Environmental Community Outreach (ECO) Division.
Melbourne Square, in the city of Melbourne, located on US 192 west of downtown, is the largest shopping area in Brevard County. In the 1960s, the motto of Melbourne was, "Crossroads to the Universe".
EAU GALLIE SQUARE in the Eau Gallie Arts District is a public green space with live oaks and band shell that serves as the center of many community events.
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