PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Port St. Lucie is a sprawling city of 120 square miles with 195,000 people but the city is trying not to lose a neighborhood feel.
Judy Sekscenski says what drew her to Port St. Lucie decades ago was the aesthetics of the neighborhood along Southbend Boulevard.
“I feel it’s easy to get lost in a city of this size," said Sekscenski.
But that's changing. Two years ago, the city of Port St. Lucie created the NICE program, which stands for Neighborhood Improvement and Community Engagement.
“It’s really important that people keep tabs on what’s happening in their neighborhood and what the city is doing in their neighborhood," said Alex Tasca, the city's Community Programs Administrator in the Neighborhood Services Department.
Tasca says city residents were asked to come up with names for their own neighborhoods, names as opposed to being identified by number.
Right now, there are 33 named neighborhoods in Port St. Lucie with another three on the horizon.
Sekscenski lives in Southbend Lakes and says the name not only adds a sense of community, but it also helps in her profession, as a realtor.
“My listings in Southbend, I always list them in MLS as Southbend Lakes.”
While most people have heard of St. Lucie West and Tradition, the program was also set up for the heart of the city.
“The beginnings of PSL were all around US 1 and it’s important that they have an identity just like the newer developments being constructed out west," said Tasca.
Recycling revenue, instead of taxpayer funds, was used for the new signs, which will be installed over the next few months.