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Cocoa is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States.
The population was 16,412 at the 2000 census. As of 2008,
the estimated population according to the U.S. Census Bureau
was 16,478. It is part of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville
Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Cocoa was founded by fishermen very early in Florida's history,
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 plant. 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 the sailors as
they traveled along the Indian 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 was still
in business in 2009.
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. And by 1895, the city was a maturing community.
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 twentieth 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
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.
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. In
the early 1980s, the city was confronted with upgrading the
stadium. It tried to get the Astros to pay for needed repairs.
In 1985, the team responded by moving its training to Osceola
County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida. As a result, it was
decided that future negotiations with major league teams would
be done at the county government level.
The City of Cocoa Celebrated its centennial in 1995.
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.
Downtown, now called "Cocoa Village", has been
revived with a series of 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 2007, the city had a taxable real estate base of $1.18
From 2002–07, Cocoa subsidized YMCA membership at the
Brevard Community College for city residents at a cost of
On October 7, 2007, the city became a sister city with Beit
Shemesh. Brevard Community College also stated that they
would participate in the twinning by exchanging students.
Cocoa is located at 28°22'10?N 80°44'38?W? / ?28.369334°N
80.743779°W? / 28.369334; -80.743779.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has
a total area of 24.7 km² (9.5 mi²). 19.3 km²
(7.5 mi²) of it is land and 5.3 km² (2.1 mi²)
of it (21.64%) is water.
Infrastructure / Water / Water tower
Cocoa is the largest supplier of water in the county. It
serves about 200,000 customers. 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.
The city stores about 500,000,000 US gallons (1.892705892000×109
l) of water underground using aquifer storage and recovery
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,412 people, 6,939
households, and 4,232 families residing in the city. The population
density was 849.4/km2 (2,200.3/mi2). There were 8,064 housing
units at an average density of 417.4/km2 (1,081.1/mi2). 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 28.5% 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 spread out with 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
Kel-Tec CNC Industries, located in Cocoa, is the third-largest
manufacturer of pistols in the United States.
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%.
In 2008, 49 building permits were issued. This was up from
37 permits in 2007, which was down from an estimated 57 permits
The median home price in 2007 was $180,000.
Points of interest
* Historic Cocoa Village
* Florida Historical Library
* Riverfront Park
* Florida Solar Energy Center
* Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science
* Brevard Community College - Cocoa Campus
* University of Central Florida - Cocoa Campus
* Aladdin Theater
* City Point Community Church
* Porcher House