Roots help grow Fellsmere, despite county’s population loss

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

FELLSMERE — While every other community in Indian River County experienced a decline in its population, Fellsmere grew — by 75 residents, according to statistics released this week.

Fellsmere’s population growth was 1.5 percent over last year, bringing the city’s population to 5,183. So far, the city has grown every year since 2007, when it had 4,687 residents.

“We always like to be different out here,” joked Mayor Susan Adams, later adding, “It’s because we’re the coolest – I’m biased.”  

Mayor Adams went on to say that she believes Fellsmere is beginning to grow because incoming residents are starting to take notice of the small town feel Fellsmere offers. Also, residents are putting down roots in the town.

“People are starting to stay,” she said, “and that’s a wonderful thing.”

As for Fellsmere’s neighbor to the east, the City of Sebastian saw 202 residents leave the area over the last year, according to figures released from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. Of all the communities in Indian River County, Sebastian suffered the largest decline of residents.

Mayor Richard Gillmor said that, though he had not seen the numbers himself, he believes that the loss could be attributed to the economy.

“People have to go where the work is,” he said, adding that his neighbor travels daily to Lake Worth for his job.

Overall, the city’s loss represents nine-tenths of 1 percent, a tiny figure compared to the city’s current population of 22,722.

Indian River County, as a whole, lost 0.1 percent of its population – or 192 residents.

Beth Mitchell, executive director of the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the area for growth over the last five years has been North County.

She also said the loss of population in Sebastian and the growth in Fellsmere are “insignificant” given the small numbers.

“It’s a blip,” Mitchell said.

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By the Numbers:

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