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At the Western Edge of the Okeechobee Waterway, Alva Has a Landscape of Grazing Cattle, Citrus Groves and Large Oak Trees with Hanging Moss
Overview: Originally platted in the 1800s, easygoing Alva straddles the Caloosahatchee River and is at the western edge of the Okeechobee Waterway in southwestern Florida. Less than an hour from Fort Myers and Cape Coral, the town stretches over 18 square miles and has fought to retain its rural character in the face of encroaching development from the west.
Grazing cattle, citrus groves and large oak trees with hanging moss dot the local landscape and evoke Old Florida. The first bridge over the Caloosahatchee was built in Alva in 1903, and its boat launch is still in use today. The active garden club curates the local museum and sponsors talks by master gardeners. Palm Beach Boulevard on the southern edge of town has convenience stores, gas stations and fast food places, but most shopping takes place in Ft. Myers, 20 miles to the west, or in Lehigh Acres, eight miles to the south. Alva is bracketed by three preserves, and Hickey Creek has hiking trails, a kayak landing, and a fishing deck. The Caloosahatchee Regional Park has campgrounds, guided walks and biking trails.
Some Alva neighborhoods have a country feeling, while others are more suburban. A few areas, including the River Hall Golf and Country Club, are peppered with ponds. Housing stock includes Mediterraneans, ranch ramblers, manufactured homes and more.
Population: 2,800 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 55%
Cost of Living: 2% below the national average
Median Home Price: $285,000
Climate: Summers are warm with highs in the upper 80s and low 90s. Winters have temperatures in the 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 50 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Lehigh Regional Medical Center, just eight miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Lehigh Regional Medical Center, just eight miles away, is accredited by the Joint Commission.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: No
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 23%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Lehigh Regional Medical Center does not receive good patient reviews. Ft. Myers has several hospitals, but they are 15 to 20 miles away. Hurricane Irma caused some damage in 2017.
Notes: Alva has grown by 1% in the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the hospital situation should be considered.
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 more golf courses than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, was struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.
Population - 20,612,439
Persons 65 years old and over - 20%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 87%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 24%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $47,525
Median home value - $159,900
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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