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Things to know about Melbourne FL

Melbourne /ˈmɛlbərn/ is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. It is located 72 miles (116 km) southeast of Orlando and 175 miles (282 km) northwest of Miami. As of the 2020 Decennial Census, there was a population of 84,678. 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 10,000–8,000 BCE. 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 the Helen Blazes archaeological site, 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Melbourne.

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. Three of these men, Wright, Allen, and Brothers were black freedmen.

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, Victoria, Australia (which was in turn named after the British Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne). 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 Melbourne Orlando 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 was successfully mitigated 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. Montgomery was also the first African American student of Brevard Engineering College, later Florida Institute of Technology which named their Pioneer Award after him.

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 February 18, 2017, president Donald J. Trump held his first post-inauguration rally at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport drawing a crowd of approximately 9,000 people according to the Melbourne police department.

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 (Cfa), bordering closely to a tropical savanna climate. Melbourne has a distinctly seasonal precipitation pattern, with a hot and wet season (late May through October) and a warm and dry season (November through April). The climate is strongly influenced by the nearby Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream, as well as incursions of cold fronts from the north in winter months.

Melbourne averages 51 inches (1,300 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. Melbourne averages 2 days per year with frost, although several years might pass without a frost in the city of Melbourne or at the ocean beaches. On Christmas Eve 2003, the city as others in east central coast of Florida received snow from the ocean effect, when cold air passes over the considerably hotter ocean and causes the rise of air with higher temperature to bring moisture into the higher portions of the atmosphere.

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 ,175. In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was ,571, and the median income for a family was ,760. Males had a median income of ,242 versus ,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.

City officials

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, the Eau Gallie Arts District received its designation as a Florida Main Street. Established in 1860 along the Indian River, the arts district (called EGAD!) has proven to be highly successful in its redevelopment of the community of art galleries, shops, restaurants, Melbourne's first microbrewery, and contains the city civic center and public library with a public pier, Historic Rossetter House and Gardens, Pineapple Park, a few businesses over 40 years old, and a community park and band shell, which is the center of many community activities. It is now a non-accredited main street program.

A 0.8 million Operating and Capital Budget was passed for the 2014–2015 fiscal year.

In 2007, the city had a taxable real estate base of .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.

Melbourne Orlando 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 5,000.

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 city has three hospitals, day care for senior citizens, hospice, walk-in, and urgent care facilities. There is Holmes Medical Center, and Melbourne Regional Medical Center. Kindred Hospital is a chronic care facility for ventilated patients and 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 ,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, per round or 2 annual fee.

The Eau Gallie Arts District is regularly highlighted as a top destination in the national rankings that are published. Read more.

Brevard Mall, the area's first mall, was built in 1962. It was followed by Melbourne Square in 1982.

In February or March:

In April:

In August:

In September:

In October:

In December:

There are four 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 available through a FLORIDA STORIES app to your phone.

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 hosts an annual indoor pickleball tournament called the Melbourne Meltdown Pickleball Championship. The third annual tournament was played on March 4–6, 2021 at the Melbourne Auditorium.

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.

Melbourne houses three branches of Brevard County Public Libraries including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Library, Eau Gallie Public Library, and the Melbourne Public Library.

The first home of the Melbourne Public Library was established in 1924 with funds raised by the Library Association of Melbourne. The current Melbourne Public Library is a 25,000 square ft building located in Wells Park. It was first opened to the public in July 1989.

The Eau Gallie Public Library was also first opened in the 1920s, starting as a library for the Eau Gallie Woman's Club. In 1939, the club officially sponsored the small library, beginning with only 22 books. The current building opened in 1962, gradually expanding over the years. In October, 1990 the Eau Gallie Public Library had a collection of 67,023 volumes and over 25,000 registered borrowers, a testament to the faith of the founders of the Eau Gallie Woman's Club. The library is located in Riverfront Park overlooking the Indian River.

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.

Prior to 1964, segregated schools were maintained for white students and black students under the doctrine of Separate but equal education. Black students were educated at Melbourne Vocational School from 1921 until it burned in 1953. For the next five years they met in the former hospital of the Naval Air Station, until Stone High School was opened in 1958. In 1964 the schools were integrated and Stone was repurposed as Stone Middle School.

Brevard Business News is a weekly newspaper in Melbourne, Florida, United States covering business news and trends for the Space Coast. Fred Krupski started Brevard Business News in 1981, and Adrienne B. Roth purchased it in 1986.

Florida Today is the major daily newspaper serving Brevard County, Florida. The Gannett corporation started the paper in 1966. It covers the Space Coast and Central Florida. The other major paper is the Hometown News ln Melbourne.

WFIT 89.5 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, a very minor east–west road, Brevard Drive, separates compass directions north and south.

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 (FEC) runs through Melbourne, staying west of U.S. 1 through its entire run. Into the early 1960s, passengers could take one of two Chicago-bound trains (on alternating days), the City of Miami or the South Wind (both via Birmingham) and the New York-bound East Coast Champion, Havana Special, and Miamian from Melbourne's Florida East Coast station. Into the latter 1950s, passengers could take the Dixie Flagler to Chicago via Atlanta from the station. The FEC operated local passenger service between Jacksonville and the Miami area until July 31, 1968.

The Brightline passenger rail company is considering service to extend north from West Palm Beach to the Space Coast, but so far, has passed over Melbourne for Cocoa.

Melbourne Orlando 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, American Eagle and Elite Airways.

Power is provided by Florida Power and Light. Gas is provided by Florida City Gas.

Cable TV service is provided by Spectrum.

Traditional landline telephone service is mainly provided by AT&T, while some cable customers use Spectrum digital telephone (VOIP) service.

Internet service providers in Melbourne range from various 56 kbit/s providers, AT&T (formerly BellSouth) FastAccess DSL, and Spectrum cable internet. 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, West Melbourne, and a portion of unincorporated Brevard County south of the Pineda Causeway. In 2020, it served about 170,000 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. Almost annually, the city is obliged to substitute the stronger free chlorine for the summer months when algae blooms are prevalent. In 2003, water rates were .27/1,000 US gallons (3,785 L) sewer .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 one of the largest shopping centers in Brevard County. In the 1960s, the motto of Melbourne was, "Crossroads to the Universe".