Palm Bay, Florida

Last updated
Palm Bay, Florida
City of Palm Bay
PalmBayFL2020.png
Top, left to right: Palm Bay, Palm Bay City Hall, Palm Bay overpass sign on Interstate 95, Turkey Creek
Flag of the City of Palm Bay, Florida.svg
Flag
Seal of Palm Bay, Florida.png
Seal
Motto(s): 
"A perfect place to grow!" [1]
Brevard County Florida Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Palm Bay Highlighted.svg
Location in Brevard County and the U.S. state of Florida
Coordinates: 27°59′52.52″N80°40′12.03″W / 27.9979222°N 80.6700083°W / 27.9979222; -80.6700083 Coordinates: 27°59′52.52″N80°40′12.03″W / 27.9979222°N 80.6700083°W / 27.9979222; -80.6700083
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Florida.svg  Florida
County Flag of Brevard County, Florida.png Brevard
Government
  Type Council-Manager
  MayorRob Medina
  City ManagerSuzanne Sherman
Area
[2]
   City 101.04 sq mi (261.69 km2)
  Land97.86 sq mi (253.46 km2)
  Water3.18 sq mi (8.23 km2)  4.56%
Elevation
19 ft (5 m)
Population
 (2010) [3]
   City 103,190
  Estimate 
(2019) [4]
115,552
  Density1,180.75/sq mi (455.89/km2)
   Metro
543,376
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
32905-32911
Area code(s) 321
FIPS code 12-54000 [5]
GNIS feature ID0288389 [6]
Website www.PalmBayFlorida.org

Palm Bay is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. The city's population was 103,190 at the 2010 United States Census, [3] making it the most populous city in the county. The historic section of the city lies on the mouth of the Turkey Creek and the Palm Bay. The newer section is mostly situated around Interstate 95 and the Tillman Canal. [7]

Contents

Palm Bay is a principal city [8] of the Palm Bay−MelbourneTitusville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 543,376 at the 2010 census. [3]

History

The Ais people, attracted to the mouth of Turkey Creek at the Indian River by freshwater springs, fish, oysters, and wildlife, are thought to have been the first inhabitants in the Palm Bay area.

The earliest place names for this area on early maps of the late 1700s were Turkey Creek,Elbow Creek and Crane Creek. An 1870 map of the Indian River by John Andrew Bostrom shows the area void of any settlements within about 15 miles of Turkey Creek. The first prominent European-American settler was John Tillman in the late 1870s. Tillman's wharf marked the mouth of Turkey Creek at what became known as Palm Bay on the Indian River. [9]

By the late 1880s, Tillman was operating a profitable orange and banana grove on the north shore of the creek. He had the most notable banana grove on the Indian River. Tillman's wharf also attracted settlers, as it was a steamboat stop. [9]

By the mid-nineteenth century, there was a lumber operation,[ clarification needed ] orange groves, and packing house. Growth was slow until the arrival of the railroad in 1894. Then goods were brought in and produce was shipped to market faster.

Turkey Creek in 2015 Turkey Creek in Palm Bay, FL.jpg
Turkey Creek in 2015

1900s

Between 1910 and 1914, a land company known as the Indian River Catholic Colony became established at Tillman. Attempting to grow two crops a season, farmers quickly depleted the soil, and the colony failed. Those remaining built St. Joseph's Church on Miller Street, the oldest building still standing.

In the 1920s, the city was renamed as Palm Bay, after the bay bordered with sabal palm trees known as Palm Bay, located at the mouth of Turkey Creek. [9] A group of Tillman businessmen established the Melbourne-Tillman Drainage District, and issued $1.5 million worth of bonds. Starting in 1922, a 180 miles (290 km) grid of 80 canals was dug to drain 40,000 acres (160 km2) of swampy land west of Palm Bay for other uses. The canals made it possible to control flooding and redevelop marsh lands to agricultural use. These actions had the unintended consequences of leaving the land more vulnerable to flooding from storms and destroying important habitats for complex ecology.

Farmers planted citrus groves and truck farms which shipped winter produce by the Florida East Coast Railroad to northern markets. Farmers sold timber and land to paper companies. Based on use of the Tillman and Hopkins canals, ranchers raised beef cattle in West Melbourne. [10]

In 1926, a fire among the dredges and a severe hurricane caused extensive damage, leading to an economic downturn in Palm Bay. The Melbourne-Tillman Drainage District went bankrupt.

In 1959, General Development Corporation purchased and platted extensive tracts of land in Palm Bay for a large residential project known as Port Malabar. The city of Palm Bay incorporated on January 16, 1960. [11] Prior to expanding its borders, the city population was 2,808 that year. [12]

The active development of the city after that point was intertwined with GDC, which laid out and built many of the streets, sold and built many of the city's homes, and built a water treatment plant. This was later purchased by the city of Palm Bay after GDC filed for bankruptcy in 1991.

The Melbourne-Tillman Water District was revived under the auspices of the County Government. In 2019, it controlled 100 square miles (260 km2) of land. [13]

On April 23, 1987, William Bryan “Bill” Cruse, Jr. (November 21, 1927 – November 29, 2009) shot 17 people, killing six, including two college students and two police officers, at a local shopping center. He wounded eleven others. The shooting by the 59-year-old man, who was retired or unemployed and cared for a chronically ill wife, made national news. [14] [15] Convicted and sentenced to death, Cruse died at the age of 82 on November 29, 2009 on Florida's death row, just eight days after his 82nd birthday. [16]

In October 1994 $500,000 of gold and gems stolen from a jewelry store which was at the time the largest single robbery in the city's history. Police suspected a connection with a similar robbery in May 1994 in Daytona Beach. Larry Lawton was later charged in 1996 with the crime after fingerprint evidence linked him to the crime. [17]

2000s

For three consecutive years between 2003 and 2005, Palm Bay was a finalist for the All-America City Award. [18]

In 2008, the city was named in an article from US News & World Report as the second "Drunkest City" in the US behind Reno, Nevada. [19]

In 2008, the former Port Malabar Country Club property was revalued at $300,000. This was considered an essentially "worthless" valuation because arsenic had been found in the groundwater and remediation would cost an estimated $12 million to clean up. [20]

Hundreds of miles of roads in the city are in such poor condition that the city Public Works Department considers them unserviceable. The voters have consistently defeated measures to raise money to invest in infrastructure to improve the roads, which are described as the worst in Brevard County. In 2005 they voted down a $58.7 million bond measure. In 2009, they defeated a $75.2 million tax referendum. In 2010, voters living in areas with the worst roads voted 9–1 against $44.7 million assessment for repairing them. In 2011, the city government created a Palm Bay Road Maintenance District that they hope can levy taxes and alleviate the situation. [21]

In 2008, fires on Mother's Day destroyed 37 homes in the southwest area of the city. Arson has been blamed as the cause of at least a few of the numerous fires. [22] [23]

In 2009, the Brevard Zoo moved the remaining 15 Florida scrub jay families native to the city to Buck Lake Conservation Area in Mims. The Florida scrub jay is a threatened species due to it being territorial; it is unable to move to better grounds when its habitat is jeopardized. [24]

2010s

In 2010, plans were revealed by a private company to develop Emerald City, a large planned development within the city limits. The company intends to develop a multi-use, eco-friendly urban community to include residential zones consisting of townhouses, and commercial zones consisting of state-of-the-art medical facilities, research and development centers for technology firms, and urbanized retail shopping centers. As of February 2016, Emerald City is in the development phase. [25]

City fiscal concern over firefighters' pensions rose during 2010. Firefighters' salaries averaged $71,100 annually plus $5,590 overtime pay. They were eligible for 100% of base pay after 28 years of service. [26]

In 2012, construction began on the St. John's Heritage Parkway (also known as the Palm Bay Parkway), an arterial roadway that runs north to south along with the western limits of the city. [27] A portion of the parkway opened to the public in 2015. The project was in development for more than a decade. It is intended to alleviate traffic for commuters on the main thoroughfares of SR 507, CR 509, and I-95. Later phases of the project will bring the roadway further south and then east following the lower city limits, eventually connecting to I-95 just north of Micco Road. [28] A state roadway improvement project includes planned widening SR 507 (Babcock Street) from four lanes to six. [29]

In 2015, the Harris Corporation constructed a new 464,000-square-foot technology center near Palm Bay Road and Troutman Boulevard. The building is one of the largest in the northeast section of the city and is reported to house approximately 1,400 scientists and engineers for the company. [30]

In 2017, construction began on the southern Interstate 95 interchange and the southern portion of the St. John's Heritage Parkway. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is constructing a new diverging diamond interchange (DDI) on Interstate 95 just north of Micco Road within the city limits. The city is working on the southern portion of the parkway to extend from Babcock Street SE to Micco Road. The project is intended to improve traffic capacity, operations, and safety, as well as promote economic development in southern Brevard County.

The city formerly monitored some intersections with radar cameras, resulting in the issuing of traffic tickets to drivers who ran red lights. In 2013, these monitored intersections were found to be no safer than unmonitored ones. [31] These cameras were removed in 2014.

In 2018, voters passed a referendum in the November 2018 elections, electing to fund a city-wide road repair project with a general obligation bond worth $150,000,000 payable from annual ad valorem taxes. Planning, design, and construction for the cities four quadrants are currently underway with a tentative 8-year plan projected. Construction in several units is set to begin in August 2019.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 68.8 square miles (178.3 km2), of which 65.7 square miles (170.2 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.1 km2), or 4.56%, is water. [32]

The city is often referred to in four quadrants: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, each containing multiple zip codes. The most urban area is in Northeast. The most rural area is in Southwest, containing an area called The Compound. This area is home to Bombardier Recreational Products.

During the early 1990s, Fred Poppe Regional Park (formerly Palm Bay Regional Park), a soccer and athletic complex in the western part of the city, was constructed. It is the largest of a citywide system of parks and recreation areas. The Turkey Creek Sanctuary is a small nature reserve in the northeast part of the city. [33]

Climate

Climate data for Palm Bay, Florida, 1991-2020 normals, extremes 2000-present
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)88
(31)
90
(32)
92
(33)
97
(36)
98
(37)
101
(38)
105
(41)
100
(38)
96
(36)
96
(36)
92
(33)
89
(32)
105
(41)
Average high °F (°C)72.9
(22.7)
75.4
(24.1)
78.5
(25.8)
82.8
(28.2)
86.6
(30.3)
89.9
(32.2)
91.3
(32.9)
91.8
(33.2)
89.2
(31.8)
84.9
(29.4)
79.0
(26.1)
74.6
(23.7)
83.1
(28.4)
Daily mean °F (°C)61.0
(16.1)
63.5
(17.5)
66.5
(19.2)
71.4
(21.9)
76.0
(24.4)
80.3
(26.8)
82.0
(27.8)
82.3
(27.9)
80.4
(26.9)
75.7
(24.3)
68.8
(20.4)
63.5
(17.5)
72.6
(22.6)
Average low °F (°C)49.0
(9.4)
51.5
(10.8)
54.5
(12.5)
60.0
(15.6)
65.4
(18.6)
70.7
(21.5)
72.6
(22.6)
72.8
(22.7)
71.5
(21.9)
66.5
(19.2)
58.5
(14.7)
52.3
(11.3)
62.1
(16.7)
Record low °F (°C)23
(−5)
27
(−3)
30
(−1)
40
(4)
46
(8)
64
(18)
64
(18)
67
(19)
57
(14)
41
(5)
36
(2)
25
(−4)
23
(−5)
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.64
(67)
2.42
(61)
3.04
(77)
2.81
(71)
4.37
(111)
7.62
(194)
6.58
(167)
7.11
(181)
7.95
(202)
5.60
(142)
2.95
(75)
2.46
(62)
55.55
(1,411)
Source: NOAA [34] [35]

Surrounding areas

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1960 2,808
1970 7,176155.6%
1980 18,560158.6%
1990 62,632237.5%
2000 79,41326.8%
2010 103,19029.9%
2019 (est.)115,552 [4] 12.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [36]
Palm Bay Demographics
2010 Census Palm BayBrevard CountyFlorida
Total population103,190543,37618,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010+29.9%+14.1%+17.6%
Population density1,570.6/sq mi535.0/sq mi350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)72.9%83.0%75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)63.9%77.6%57.9%
Black or African-American 17.9%10.1%16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 14.1%8.1%22.5%
Asian 1.8%2.1%2.4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.5%0.4%0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.1%0.1%0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial) 3.6%2.6%2.5%
Some Other Race 3.2%1.7%3.6%

As of 2010, there were 45,220 households, out of which 12.7% were vacant. As of 2000, 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% are non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.03.

In 2000, the city's population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $36,508, and the median income for a family was $41,636. Males had a median income of $31,060 versus $22,203 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,992. 9.5% of the population and 7.1% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 11.5% were under the age of 18 and 8.1% were 65 or older.

Housing

In 2008, 403 building permits were issued for 534 units. This was down from 739 permits issued for 739 units in 2007, which was down from 1766 permits for 1771 units in 2006. [37] The median home price in 2017 was $172,200. [38]

Languages

As of 2000, English spoken as a first language accounted for 88.55% of all residents, while 11.44% spoke other languages as their mother tongue. The most significant was Spanish speakers who made up 7.45% of the population, while French came up as the third most spoken language, which made up 0.93%, German was spoken by 0.92%, and Arabic was at fourth, with 0.53% of the population. [39]

Economy

Industry

Pink Wal-Mart Supercenter built in 2005: the city uses Key West vernacular architecture. Pink Walmart in Palm Bay Cropped.jpg
Pink Wal-Mart Supercenter built in 2005: the city uses Key West vernacular architecture.

Forbes magazine ranked the city the 11th most innovative in the nation in 2010. [40] [41]

The following corporations are located in the city:

Workforce

In 2007, the average size of Palm Bay's labor force was 49,935. Of that group, 47,542 were employed and 2,393 were unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 4.8%. [38] This figure had risen to 6,571 (12.7%) and was the highest rate in the county. [44]

Tourism

Transient travelers constitute the city's main audience. A secondary market is business including corporate and higher education. [45]

The 2015 Tough Mudder 12.5 miles (20.1 km) race, drew 9,875 visitors to the area including 6,835 participants. The Brevard County Tourist Development Council spent $40,000 promoting and staging the event. [46]

Government

Members of the Palm Bay city government in 2003 Palmbayfl citycouncil 2003.jpg
Members of the Palm Bay city government in 2003

Palm Bay utilizes the council-manager form of government. [47]

The Mayor and City Council are the legislative branch of city government; its members are the community's decision makers. The Mayor is the presiding officer at the Council Meetings and is the official head of the city for all ceremonial occasions. Power is centralized in the elected Mayor and Council (City Council), which approves the budget, determines the tax rate, focuses on the community's goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing, and strategic planning.

In Palm Bay, a five-member Mayor and Council, operate in accordance with the City Charter. Three positions created by the Charter (Charter Officers) are appointed by and report directly to the City Council: City Manager, City Attorney, and City Clerk.

The City Manager is responsible for all activities related to the operations of the city. The City Manager hires a professional staff to assist in the administration and enforcement of the City Charter, ordinances, resolutions, financial conditions and all of the various procedures and policies that are required for the city to function properly. In 2011, the annual salary of the city manager was $168,000. [48] The office of Mayor receives an annual salary of $0.20 per capita while council members receive $0.10 per capita.

In 2007, the city had a taxable real estate base of $5.84 billion. [50] This amount was the largest of any municipality in the county.

In 2010, the city opened a data base to the public, [51] that tracks city income and expenditures. [52]

In 2010, the city employed 913 full-time equivalent workers. [53]

In 2008, the police department won an award for training patrolmen to properly collect DNA samples. At the time, they were the only police force in the world with this program. [54]

Utilities Department

In 2009 the utilities department had 545 miles (877 km) of water lines, 300 miles (480 km) of sewer lines, 2,250 fire hydrants, and 120 full-time equivalent employees. [55]

Public safety

Police Department

The City of Palm Bay Police Department is authorized 172 sworn police officers, in addition to numerous civilian and support personnel. [56] The agency is broken into various sections, such as the Uniform Services Division, Support Services Division, and the Criminal Investigations Division. Each section assigns officers to various tasks, such as patrol, traffic and DUI enforcement, training officers, detectives, and similar tasks. There are three police districts within the city. Patrol officers are assigned to each district.

A 2009 survey indicated that the city was ranked 263 out of 400 in crime statistics, with #1 being the worst. Crimes included murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. [57]

In 2011, Skype was used 32 times to obtain warrants promptly. [58]

Fire Department

Palm Bay Fire Rescue consists of about a hundred firefighters and six stations. [59] Most firefighters work 24 hour shifts followed by 48 hours off.[ citation needed ] The Palm Bay Fire Department responded to over 12,000 calls in 2011.[ citation needed ]

In May 2008 (Mothers Day Fires) a wild fire was started that burned a total of almost 26,000 acres (11,000 ha)40 square miles (100 km2), 30 homes were destroyed and 140 were damaged.[ citation needed ] Firefighters from Palm Bay and across the state fought the fires around the clock.[ citation needed ]

In 2006, they became the highest paid fire department in the county. In 2010, average compensation exceeded $68,000 annually. Supplements earned during a year were also eligible for retirement. Thus a 2010 retiree, a 47-year-old with a former salary of $75,540, was receiving an $86,580 pension annually. [60]

In 2013, the city concluded an agreement with the county to furnish fire and emergency medical aid to whichever governmental unit was closer to the problem: a Palm Bay unit or a Brevard County unit. [61]

Education

All public schools are run by the Brevard County School Board.

Public Elementary Schools:

Public Middle School:

Public High Schools:

Higher Education:

Transportation

City name marker erected on I-95 in 2002 Pbsignpatriotic cropped.jpg
City name marker erected on I-95 in 2002

Major roads in Palm Bay include the following:

There are about 851 miles (1,370 km) of city-maintained highways. [62] [63] Most roads in the area west of DeGroodt Road are unpaved. In 2013, the public works director reported that most roads in south Palm Bay were "failed roads," for lack of maintenance. [64]

In 2012, Palm Bay had the lowest walkability of any city in the United States with a population over 100,000 people. [65]

In 2018, The city's voters approved a bond referendum to pave the city's failing roadways. The city is repaving or reconstructing various sections or units each fiscal year. [66]

Notable people

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References

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