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Cocoa, Florida

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Cocoa, Florida

Cocoa, Florida
City of Cocoa
Downtown Cocoa, also known as Cocoa Village.
Downtown Cocoa, also known as Cocoa Village.
Location in Brevard County and the state of Florida
Location in Brevard County and the state of Florida
Country  United States of America
State  Florida
County Brevard
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor Henry U. Parrish, III
 • City Manager John Titkanich
 • Total 15.4 sq mi (39.9 km2)
 • Land 13.3 sq mi (34.5 km2)
 • Water 2.1 sq mi (5.4 km2)
Elevation 36 ft (11 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 17,140
 • Density 1,100/sq mi (430/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 321
FIPS code 12-13150[2]
GNIS feature ID 0280608[3]
Website .org.CocoaFLwww

Cocoa is a city in Brevard County, Florida. The population was 17,140 at the 2010 United States Census.[1] It is part of the Palm BayMelbourneTitusville Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Cocoa was founded by fishermen with the first families arriving around 1860. A post office was established at Magnolia Point, and the city's first commercial building was erected around 1881. First plats of the new settlement were made in 1882 under the name "Indian River City" on land owned by Captain R. A. Hardee. The name Indian River City was unacceptable to the U.S. Postal authorities who claimed it was too long for use on a postmark.

The origin of the city's name is uncertain. In 1925, the Cocoa Tribune published several reader-supplied accounts of the town's naming. One reader credited Captain R.C. May with recommending the name at a town meeting in 1884. At Captain May's suggestion, the group finally chose the name "Cocoa" for the town's association with the cocoa tree. The name was forwarded to Washington, D.C., where it was approved. Another story suggests that an old woman was inspired by a box of baker's cocoa and her suggestion was adopted. Still another version suggests that along the bank of the Indian River lived an old woman who would supply hot cocoa to sailors as they traveled along the river. As they passed, they would call out "cocoa, cocoa" until the woman supplied them with refreshment. Whatever its origin, by 1884 the name Cocoa had become permanently associated with what was then an infant settlement.

In 1885, the S. F. Travis Hardware store opened. It is still in business in 2014.[4]

Cocoa's business district was destroyed by fire in 1890, but soon, significant development began to occur with the extension of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Indian River Railway to Cocoa.

The city was chartered in 1895.[5] In the winter of 1894-1895, Cocoa suffered a second severe economic setback when the "Great Freeze" destroyed the citrus crop and forced many citrus workers to seek new occupations. According to one source, by 1903, the population of Cocoa had dropped to 382.

During the second decade of the 20th century, population growth and economic development in Cocoa accelerated. The state business directory of 1911-1912 set the population at 550. By 1925, the population was estimated at 1,800. During the Great Depression, the local economy declined and the two local banks failed. Still, by 1930, the population had risen to 2,200.

The population rose dramatically following the development of the space industry, quadrupling from 3,098 in 1940 to 12,244 in 1960. Cocoa and the surrounding area also became integrated with the tourist industry for the first time as thousands visited the area to witness the launches from Cape Canaveral. By 1980, the population had grown to 16,096.[6]

Education was segregated until the 1960s, at which time Monroe High School and elementary schools for black students were closed.[7]

In 1964, the city built the Cocoa Expo Sports Center (Cocoa Stadium) for the Colt 45s spring baseball training and Grapefruit League games. The team later became the Houston Astros.[8] In the early 1980s, the city attempted to upgrade the stadium by asking the Astros to pay for needed repairs. In 1985, the team responded by moving its training to Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee. As a result, it was decided that future negotiations with major league teams would be done by the county government.

In the 1970s, the old downtown area was revitalized with a shopping district, music clubs and waterfront park.


The Hubert H. Humphrey Bridge spans the Indian River Lagoon, linking Cocoa with Merritt Island.

Cocoa is located at .[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.4 square miles (39.9 km2). 13.3 square miles (34.5 km2) of it is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) of it (13.46%) is water.[10]


The Cocoa Bird Count has annually counted species of birds in or near Cocoa since 1950. In 2010, it counted 150 species. There was an annual "Christmas Bird Count" before this, starting in 1900.[11]


Cocoa first approved the Council-Manager form of government in 1959, and subsequent changes to the state statutes mirrored the City of Cocoa's Council-Manager Plan. The City Council serves as the Board of Directors for the City, with the Mayor as Chairman. The City Manager serves as the Chief Executive. The City Council for the City of Cocoa is made up of five members; the Mayor is elected at large and the four council members are elected by each of their districts.

  • Mayor - Henry U. Parrish, III
  • Councilman, District 1 - Clarence Whipple, Jr.
  • Councilwoman, District 2 - Brenda Warner
  • Councilman, District 3 - Don Boisvert
  • Councilman, District 4 - Tyler Furbish
  • City Manager (appointed) - John Titkanich[12]

Downtown, now called "Cocoa Village", has been revived with a series of federal government grants and private investment. The Diamond Square Redevelopment Agency has been established with the goal of improving residential and commercial values in the city's minority areas.

In 2011, the city manager's salary was $145,000 annually.[13]

In 2007, the city had a taxable real estate base of $1.18 billion.[14]

Along with one other city in the county, Cocoa has its own fire department with three stations. There is a county fire department within the city limits.[15]

In 2010 there were 66 police officers and 35 firemen. Employees paid 6.5% of their pay towards retirement; the city paid another 58.8% additional to the firemen's trust fund, and 22.3% to the police pension plan.[16] For budgetary reasons, the number of police had dropped to 49 in 2012. Each police officer cost the city $72,126, including current and deferred benefits.[17]

From 2002–07, Cocoa subsidized YMCA membership at the Eastern Florida State College for city residents at a cost of $70,000 annually.[18]


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 16,412 people, 6,939 households, and 4,232 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,200.3 inhabitants per square mile (849.4/km2). There were 8,064 housing units at an average density of 1,081.1 per square mile (417.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 62.47% White, 32.28% African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 1.58% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.93% of the population.

There were 6,939 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 19.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was distributed as follow: 26.4% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.

Based on 2009 FDLE and FBI reporting in the Uniform Crime Reports, the city of Cocoa has the highest crime rate and arrest rate per capita in Brevard County. [19]

In 2010 Cocoa had the lowest percentage of people with undergraduate degrees in the county, 15%, compared with 26% countywide. They also had the highest percentage of people living in poverty, 27%, nearly twice that of the nearest measured municipality, compared with 10% average countywide.[20]


Cocoa Drive-up-banking

Personal income

According to the 2000 Census:

  • Median household income = $27,062
  • Median family income = $31,243
  • Median income for males = $27,294
  • Median income for females = $22,500
  • Per capita income = $15,665
  • Below the poverty line:
  • Families = 21.8%
  • Population = 24.1%
  • Those under age 18 = 38.7%
  • Those over age 64 = 11.8%


Kel-Tec CNC Industries, located in Cocoa, is the third-largest manufacturer of pistols in the United States.[21][22]


In 2007, the average size of Cocoa's labor force was 9,068. Of that group, 8,427 were employed and 641 were unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 7.1%.[23]


The annual Mardi Gras festival was attended by 5,000 people in 2010.[24]


In 2008, 49 building permits were issued. This was up from 37 permits in 2007, which was down from an estimated 57 permits in 2006.[25]

The median home price in 2007 was $180,000.[23]


The city area has the following educational institutions:

  • Cocoa High School
  • Eastern Florida State College - Cocoa Campus
  • University of Central Florida - Cocoa Campus
  • Clearlake Middle School [CLOSED] (In February 2013, the Brevard County School Board voted to move students attending Clearlake Middle School to Cocoa High School and convert it to a junior and senior high school in time for the 2013-2014 school year.)[26]
  • Cambridge Elementary School
  • Saturn Elementary School
  • Endeavor Elementary Magnet School



Major roads

All are at least four-lane roads, unless otherwise designated.


The Florida East Coast Railway runs through Cocoa, but does not stop.


Space Coast Area Transit operates a public bus service in Cocoa and vicinity.[28][29]


Water tower

Cocoa is the largest supplier of water in the county. It serves about 200,000 customers.[30] The city provides water not only to its residents but to surrounding cities and towns and county at a premium, including Port St. John, south to the Pineda Causeway in north Melbourne, and includes residents from Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Suntree, Viera, Rockledge, Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, and Cape Canaveral.[31] The city stores about 500 million US gallons (1,900,000 m3) of water underground using aquifer storage and recovery technology.[32]

The flag was originally painted on the water tower free of charge by a Greek immigrant. He wanted to decorate the tower in time for the United States bicentennial celebration in 1976.[33]


Radio stations

Television station

Points of interest

Historic sites

Porcher House in Cocoa Village


The Houston Astros held spring training in Cocoa from 1964 through 1984, and the Florida Marlins trained in Cocoa in 1993. Cocoa Stadium was also the long-time home of the Florida State League Cocoa Astros.

In 2009, the Space Coast Surge, a member of the Florida Winter Baseball League, had Cocoa Stadium as its home stadium.[35] The league suspended operations in November 2009.[36]

Notable people

Sister city


  1. ^ a b "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Cocoa city, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  4. ^ "History". The S.F. Travis Company. 2014-02-26. 
  5. ^ "History". 2010-01-17. 
  6. ^ History Cocoa, Fla. Official Website. Accessed on 2009-06-24.
  7. ^ Basu, Rebecca (14 March 2010). "Cocoa's class of 1950 shares life stories at reunion". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1D. 
  8. ^ Spring Training online "Houston Astros"
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  10. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cocoa city, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ Winston, Keith (25 December 2010). "Brevard Naturally:Citizen scientists collect vital information". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 4D. 
  12. ^ Berman, David (November 27, 2011). "Cocoa pays manager $115,000".  
  13. ^ Berman, David (November 27, 2011). "Cocoa pays manager $145,000".  
  14. ^ Dean, James (April 26, 2008). More taxes or fewer services. Florida Today. 
  15. ^ "The Fact Book".  
  16. ^ Summers, Keyonna (26 January 2010). "Cocoa eys pension expenses tonight". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1B. 
  17. ^ Gunnerson, Scott (January 13, 2013). "Cocoa launching 'surge' against street crime".  
  18. ^ Florida Today, "Cocoa holds off on YMCA", January 23, 2008
  19. ^
  20. ^ Ryan, MacKenzie (15 December 2010). "Census data notes makeup of towns". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1A. 
  21. ^ according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
  22. ^ [1] retrieved August 24, 2008
  23. ^ a b Cocoa Community Data Sheet Economic Development Council of Florida's Space Coast. Retrieved on 2009-06-24.
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ Building Permits United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2009-06-24.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Rick Neale (2010-09-15). "'State of the System' identifies Brevard County's busiest roads". Florida Today. Florida Today. 
  28. ^ Space Coast Area Transit official website
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Editorial:Protecting liquid gold". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. 15 April 2009. pp. 10A. 
  31. ^ Florida Today - Hooking up your utilities retrieved June 9, 2008
  32. ^ [3] retrieved June 24, 2008
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Libraries and Collections | Florida Journalism History Project". 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  35. ^ Space Coast Surge
  36. ^ Leesburg Daily Commercial article, November 19, 2009
  37. ^ "Jumaine Lanard Jones". Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  38. ^ Schaefer, Gayla. "Communities create ties: Cocoa, Israeli town become sister cities with ceremony", Florida Today, September 28, 2007. Accessed October 7, 2007. "As of Sunday, Oct. 7, the city of Cocoa and the city of Beit Shemesh, Israel will become sisters."

External links

  • Official website
  • Cocoa Village, the historic downtown area of Cocoa Florida
  • Aerial views of the downtown area
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