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Wellington is a village just west of West Palm Beach in central Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. As of 2014, the city had a population of 61,485 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, making it the most populous village in the state. It is the fifth largest municipality in Palm Beach County by population. Wellington is part of the Miami metropolitan area. Wellington was named Money Magazine's "Top 100" Best Places to Live in 2010. Although Wellington is not a village under any standard definition of the term village in the US, it is referred to officially as the "Village of Wellington". The area is also home to The Mall at Wellington Green and a shopping plaza surrounding it.
In the 1950s, Charles Oliver Wellington, an accountant from Massachusetts, purchased about 18,000 acres (73 km2) of central Palm Beach County swampland located south of Florida State Road 80 (locally known as Southern Boulevard) and west of U.S. Route 441. Mr. Wellington named the property Flying Cow Ranch, due to his other occupation as an aviator and his initials spelling the word "cow". The ranch became protected against floodwaters from the Everglades after the United States Army Corps of Engineers construction a levee to south of the property between 1952 and 1953. Following Mr. Wellington's death in 1959, his son Roger inherited the property. The family decided to sell 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) at $300 per acre to Arthur William "Bink" Glisson, Charles' agent. Glisson sold the land for $1,000 per acre within the following several months. Many other farmers began purchasing or leasing portions of the Flying Cow Ranch in the 1960s. About 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) were used for growing strawberries at one point, which was claimed to be the largest strawberry patch in the world.
After Roger Wellington sold 7,200 acres (29 km2) of land to developer Jim Nall of Fort Lauderdale in 1972, the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a proposal by the Acme Drainage District for the area to become a planned unit development. Among the first projects included the development of 150 acre (0.61 km2) Lake Wellington and the construction of a golf course, a country club, and residential neighborhoods. Following acquisition of the project in the late 1970s by Gould Florida Inc., the company built the International Polo Club Palm Beach and the Aero Club, a neighborhood with a private airpark. The area's first official population count occurred during the 1980 Census, when Wellington was defined as a Census-designated place. A total of 4,622 people lived there at the time. Wellington functioned as a sprawling bedroom community with few shopping centers or restaurants until the 1990s.
A vote for incorporation of the village of Wellington was held on November 7, 1995, with 3,851 votes in support and 3,713 votes in opposition, a margin of just 138 votes. Wellington officially became a village on December 31, 1995, as a state revenue sharing program required it to exist in 1995 in order to be eligible for funding in 1996. The village became Palm Beach County's 37th municipality and the ninth most populous city in the county at the time, with approximately 28,000 residents. The first village council elections were held on March 12, 1996. None of the candidates for any of the five seats secured a majority of the votes, forcing runoffs to be held on March 26. The first elected village council members were Paul Adams, Michael McDonough, Tom Wenham, Carmine Priore, and Kathy Foster. Two days later, the council held its first meeting and selected Foster for mayor, Priore for vice mayor, and Colin Baenziger for village manager.
It has now become known as an international center for equestrian sports.
Wellington is located at 26°39′18″N 80°15′15″W (26.655135, −80.254136). According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 31.4 square miles (81 km2), of which 31.0 square miles (80 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) is water (0.99%).
As of 2010, there were 22,685 households, with 13.3% being vacant. In 2000, there were 12,938 households out of which 69.7% were married couples, 47.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.4% were non-families. 13.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.25.
In 2000, the village the population was spread out with 31.0% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.
As of 2015, the median income for a household in the village was $77,233. The per capita income for the village was $40,726. About 2.9% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, 83.52% of residents spoke English as a first language, while 12.18% spoke Spanish, French accounted for 0.98%, French Creole for 0.79%, Italian made up 0.61%, and Vietnamese was the mother tongue of 0.47% of the population.
As of 2000, Wellington had the eighty-fifth highest percentage of Cuban residents in the US, with 3.27% of the village's population.
The Village of Wellington has the following parks:
Wellington provides a number of ball fields.
Beach activities are around a half hour's drive time, due east, to the Palm Beaches. For variety, from Wellington one can access Fort Lauderdale less than one hour away or travel to South Beach approximately a one and half hour's drive.
Wellington is known for its equestrian community and hosting equestrian events, notably show jumping, hunting, dressage and polo.
Wellington is host to the Winter Equestrian Festival, the largest and longest running horse show in the world from January to April. It holds more than forty weeks of equestrian competitions per year. A new expansion includes the Global Dressage Festival. International competitors attend the equestrian events and social event held in the community.
Each year Wellington hosts several high-goal polo tournaments including the USPA Piaget Gold Cup and the Nespresso U.S. Polo Open at the Palm Beach International Polo Club. The International Polo Club was an idea created by players to build a facility to showcase the skills of the ponies and players. The arenas of play include three state-of-the-art playing fields and a stick and ball field. Brunches, charities, corporate events and more are hosted at the International Polo Club in Wellington.
Wellington has a large renovated public library and hosts seasonal events such as the annual Top Gun model aircraft show, the Barett-Jackson Auto auction, art and antique shows and holiday parades.
The Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre regularly hosts musical and film events in their outdoor venue.
The Wellington Amphitheater hosts events like free movie night, musical and comedy performances, the Food Truck Invasion and many more.
Wellington has two regional malls The Mall at Wellington Green, and the Old Wellington Mall along with many other nationally known retailers located in outdoor shopping venues along the major commercial highways.
There are a number of entertainment and cultural venues such as the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the Norton Museum of Art in nearby West Palm Beach.
Wellington's public transportation consists of Palm Tran. It also served by Palm Beach International Airport. Several highways pass through or near Wellington. U.S. Route 441 and State Road 7 jointly cross north-to-south in the eastern side of the village. Lake Worth Road, which is designated as State Road 802 to the east of Route 441/State Road 7, continues westward into Wellington. State Road 882 (locally known as Forest Hill Boulevard) also moves east-west partially through the village, before continuing westward and then northwestward to Southern Boulevard without the designation to the west of Route 441/State Road 7. Southern Boulevard (designated as both U.S. Route 98 and State Road 80), an east-to-west highway, lies just north of the village's northern boundary. Florida's Turnpike passes along the far eastern edge of Wellington, though the nearest entry and exit ramps are located at U.S. Route 98/State Road 80 and State Road 802, outside the municipal limits.
The School District of Palm Beach County serves Wellington. Public schools in Wellington and schools serving Wellington include:
In 2008, Palm Beach State College (PBSC) proposed building a campus in Wellington. The town council voted affirmatively on August 12, 2008, to enter negotiations with the college, before plans fell through the following year. However, PBSC opened a campus in the neighboring town of Loxahatchee Groves in February 2017.
The Palm Beach County Library System operates the Wellington Branch.
Wellington is serviced by a few different mainstream news publications.
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