Port Saint Lucie, a safe beautiful and prosperous city for all people
From the Mayor, Gregory J. Oravec
I wrote the meat of this column in response to a recent letter to the editor about our proposed Adventure Park and wanted to share the information in this issue of iCare too.
Despite a global pandemic, we’re continuing to build something special in PSL - a safe, beautiful and prosperous City for All People. And while you will certainly find committed elected and appointed officials at City Hall, ones who are invested in the hopes and dreams of our community, you’ll be hard pressed to find them pursuing pet projects at the public’s expense because, instead, our team is committed to an award-winning citizen-driven strategic planning and budgeting process to fulfill our community’s great promise. Our vision for the future, strategic goals, and annual priorities, those relating to parks and all our services, were shaped by public input and are updated annually in the same way. We’d encourage all interested parties to visit www.cityofpsl.com/strategicplan to learn more and to note that our statistically-valid annual citizen survey is underway now (www.cityofpsl.com/citizensurvey), and our annual citizen summit will be held over multiple events in March (www.cityofpsl.com/citizensummit).
We believe our citizens are what makes PSL great. We want them to be actively involved and proud; and with these thoughts in mind, though a lot of work remains and a commitment to continuous improvement is unending, we can take heart that our approach has already resulted in numerous accomplishments and accolades, including: being the safest large city in Florida, lowering the city tax rate and debt for five straight years (with a sixth in the works), leading the region’s economic development efforts in the Tradition Jobs Corridor, completing the Crosstown Bridge, keeping 10 billion gallons of freshwater runoff out of the St. Lucie River via McCarty Ranch, and having US News & World Report name PSL one of the best places to live near a beach, to retire, and to live in the US.
True to our overall approach, our planned Adventure Park, set for 1501 SW Cameo Blvd., was not a half-cracked idea hatched by a politician as suggested by the aforementioned letter to the editor. The current proposal can be traced back to honoring an institutional promise made to the community when the City had to close its original skate park during the Great Recession. After getting through those dark days, the City began the process of restarting its Parks Program; and through a series of community workshops led by experts, the promise to replace the closed park grew into something much more as it happened to dovetail with citizen feedback received through the citizen survey, citizen summit, and other channels that PSL should develop a greater sense of identity by having more things to do in special public places.
Our citizens, consultants and staff put a lot of hard work into the recently approved conceptual plan and, as we move forward, it’s important for us to recognize that while this approval is a major milestone, we still have a long way to go before this project can become a reality. The Council has tasked the City Manager with answering critical questions over cost, operations and feasibility; and the corresponding answers and recommendations must be presented to the Council at one or more public meetings before we can even begin the process of properly debating how the park could fit into the budget. This will all come into greater focus through a series of public meetings later this year. However, what I hope is clear now is that the Adventure Park, along with the Port District, Tradition and City Center, presents us an incredible opportunity to create an iconic public place, the kind that improves our daily lives, brings us together, makes us proud of our community, is used to describe where we live to strangers, and attracts desirable economic development.
As to whether we realize these opportunities, that’s for us to determine as a community in the months and years ahead, but I’d certainly encourage us to stay the course with our citizen-driven strategic approach and our shared commitment to working hard, smart, and together. Let’s never forget our values or lessons learned, but let’s also be sure to follow the facts and reason to sound decisions because, while we’d never want to repeat a past mistake or throw away taxpayer dollars, we don’t want uninformed or unfounded fears to prematurely foreclose on our greatest opportunities either. Onward and upward, PSL!