Vero Beach is a city in Indian River County, Florida, USA. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 estimates, the city had a population of 16,939. It is the county seat of Indian River County. Vero Beach is a Principal City of the Sebastian-Vero Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is home to 130,100 people.
Vero Beach may be best known as the location of Dodgertown, where the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team held their spring training camp from 1948 until 2008. The stadium was also the home to the minor league Vero Beach Devil Rays; however, in August 2008 the franchise was sold to the Ripken Baseball Group and will not return to Vero Beach for the 2009 season.
Piper Aircraft Inc. builds aircraft here. Major industries include citrus fruit packing and tourism.
Geography and Climate
Vero Beach is located at (27.641817, -80.391105). According to the United States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of . of it is land and of it (14.31%) is water.
The city is divided by the Indian River Lagoon into the mainland on one side and the oceanfront barrier island on the other. The island's population consists of wealthy vacation dwellers and well-to-do year-round residents. Restrictive zoning has allowed the island to repel attempts to develop high-rise hotels and large commercial centers, so it maintains a quiet, residential atmosphere.
According to the World Almanac and Book of Facts, Vero Beach is at the eastern end of a demarcation line that separates Florida's climate into two zones, to the north of the town has a humid subtropical climate and a tropical climate to the south. From Vero Beach, this line stretches straight across the state, with Bradenton, FL on the western end of the demarcation line.
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As of the census
of 2000, there were 17,705 people, 8,516 households, and 4,777 families residing in the city. The population density
was 1,598.9/mi² (617.5/km²). There were 10,286 housing units at an average density of 928.9/mi² (358.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.73% White
, 3.42% African American
, 0.20% Native American
, 1.24% Asian
, 0.03% Pacific Islander
, 1.40% from other races
, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 5.79% of the population.
There were 8,516 households out of which 17.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the city the population was spread out with 16.0% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 29.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,427, and the median income for a family was $50,260. Males had a median income of $31,217 versus $24,022 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,940. About 6.4% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.6% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.
Vero Beach Municipal Airport
is located 1 mile northwest of the central business district
Vero Beach is home to general aviation manufacturer Piper Aircraft
, which is the largest private employer in Indian River County. Aside from Piper, the bulk of commercial activity in Vero Beach centers around Tourism, particularly in the high season months of December through April; the Citrus Industry (Vero Beach is well-known for Indian River Grapefruit); and professional and service activities, particularly those catering the area's large senior citizen population.
The Florida East Coast Railway's mainline bisects Vero Beach. The old passenger depot was relocated next to the trackage to its current location, though there is no regularly scheduled passenger service to Vero Beach at present, but serves as a museum. FEC serves a local lumber/building materials customer in Vero Beach itself that receives boxcars and flatcars, and a sand/aggregate customer just to the north of Vero that receives hopper cars, including FEC's signature Ortner aggregate hoppers. These are visible to railfans when they travel on the roadway that parallels the FEC right-of-way. Most FEC trains, and NS run-throughs with trackage rights, pass through Vero under cover of darkness. FEC is fully-CTC, and extremely well-maintained. Indeed, employment with FEC is one of the most coveted railroad industry jobs in the South-east United States. Just to the north of Vero, in the vicinity of the sand/aggregate customer, the now-disconnected spurs that once served citrus-packing companies in the area can be seen. These companies now ship their product by truck. It is unknown, at present, if FEC intends to try to recapture this business by reconnecting the various spurs and offering regular local service that can move the product to market faster.
Points of interest
Vero Beach is known for its outstanding beaches. Part of Florida's Treasure Coast
, the beaches combine excellent sand quality with significant surf and tidal action. Vero's main public beach is known as South Beach, accessible at the eastern end of Causeway Boulevard, State Road 656. Other public beaches include Humiston Park, in Vero's Central Beach Business District, and Jaycee Park and the adjacent boardwalk extending southward approximately 2/3 of a mile along Ocean Drive. Vero Beach also has numerous other public access trails and walkways permitting beach access.
Water Recreation in the Indian River Lagoon
The Indian River Lagoon, passing through Vero Beach, forms a significant portion of the Intracoastal Waterway, and is a hub for boating, fishing, water skiing, and other small-craft waterborne activities. Sheltered from the open ocean, the Indian River area of Vero has a number of public and private marinas and boat launch facilities.
Vero Beach holds some of Florida's most exclusive private clubs. They include Red Stick, John's Island, Indian River Club, Bent Pine Golf Club, Hawk's Nest, Oak Harbor Club, Vero Beach Country Club, Quail Valley and others.
National Register of Historic Places
Notable residents (full time and seasonal)
- Hugh B. Cave, author
- Jake Owen Country Music Singer-Songwriter
- Mardy Fish , professional tennis player
- Calvin Souther Fuller , Inventor of Solar Cell, died 1994
- Ivan Lendl , former professional tennis player
- Albert Reed , Model, 2007 Dancing with the stars competitor, Actor, graduated from Vero Beach High School in 2003
- Terry Taylor, professional wrestler
- John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted
- Gloria Estefan, professional singer
- Sandy Koufax, hall of fame pitcher
The city includes several parks, most notably Riverside Park, which is the location of Riverside Theater and the Vero Beach Museum of Art
- Vero Beach High School, the first high school in Vero Beach
- Indian River Charter High School, Established in 1998.
- Saint Edwards School
Vero Beach was the site of a major archaeological discovery by local resident Frank Ayers in 1915. Known as the 'Vero Man', the find created an international controversy for it provided the first evidence that human beings had inhabited the 'new world
' prior to the end of the Wisconsin glaciation
(c. 10,000 BCE
). Over the next thirty years, the remains were shuffled back and forth between the Smithsonian Institution
and the Florida State Museum of History in Tallahassee
. Experts could never reach an agreement and the remains were eventually lost just prior to the invention of Carbon-14 dating
in 1947. Interest in Vero Man gradually waned, though more recently there was some renewed interest in finding the remains.