Future of Port St. Lucie’s City Center open for discussion

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:05 PM EST
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It was supposed to be Port St. Lucie’s first downtown, but now after two decades, the conversation is once again picking up over what the City Center site could be.

In the short term, Richard Dirusso wants more pickle ball courts in Port St. Lucie.

But he wonders over the long term what will surround the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center off US-1.

“Apartments are nice but then they take all your parking places away,” said Dirusso.

Port St. Lucie city leaders got an update this week on future plans for the City Center with Mayor Shannon Martin calling this one of the biggest policy decisions the council will make over the next four years.

There was talk about moving the parks and recreation department, and expanding the event space available at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center.

While the council was told a hotel right now wouldn’t have the support needed, that would change if the area became a destination with the potential for new apartments and retail.

“When you put all the elements in play, when you have a real redeveloped property, I think we’re going to see a lot more demand,” said City Manager Russ Blackburn, reminding council that the Southern Grove area was expected to take 30 years to develop, and has seen massive growth in just five.

The City Center parcels were purchased by the city after the initial developer defaulted, and a second developer had it seized after they were accused of making false representations to potential investors.

Dirusso said the city has a great opportunity for the space.

“I used to live in Boston. There’s no room to do anything. If they had this much room in Boston they’d be dancing in the streets,” he said.

If you have some ideas on what City Center should be, the city wants to hear from you. They’re holding a public workshop on Dec. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center.

Scripps Only Content 2022