Commissioners add their support to protecting ‘Vero Man’

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — One more government group has pledged its support in protecting the historic “Vero Man” site near the Vero Beach Municipal Airport. The Board of County Commissioners unanimously supported a resolution of the site’s protection and cooperation with the City of Vero Beach.

The Vero Man site is located on both city and county property in the vicinity of Piper Aircraft and the County Administration complex in the north end of the city and was discovered in the early 1900s when Indian River Farms began cutting canals in the area.

Commissioner Wesley Davis brought the resolution before his fellow commissioners and asked them to approve it.

City of Vero Beach staff members have already promised to help protect the site by installing fencing and No Trespassing signs around the city’s portion of the historic property. The fencing, however, has not yet been installed.

The Vero Beach City Council is expected to approve a similar resolution at an upcoming meeting.

Once Vero Beach leaders have approved its resolution, County Historian Ruth Stanbridge said she would take those to the Florida Historic Preservation Office to have the site listed on the Old Master Site file and recognized on the state level.

From there, Stanbridge said she would work to get the site listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

As for the Vero Man site, scientists hail it as an important archaeological find – only one of two known in the western hemisphere – where human remains were found alongside those of “megafauna” now extinct.

Such animals found include a mastodon, predecessors of tapirs, sloths and horses, a mammoth and a saber-toothed cat.

Between 1913 and 1918, the site was known as “Tarzan Park” – a tourist attraction where people could see and buy some of the excavated bones, Stanbridge said.


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