Mayor Greg Oravec seemed almost stumped about what good news to put into the State of the City address.
“I’m not going to waste any time telling you this – the state of the city is strong and getting stronger,” he said early on in the annual address on Monday.
Much of the address – his third as mayor – was a question and answer time, which is usually the domain of town hall-style meetings. Before that, Oravec did breeze through a few positive things that happened in 2017.
“In 2017 we started a little project,” the mayor said. “You may have heard of it. It’s called the Crosstown Bridge.”
The long-discussed and -awaited Crosstown Parkway Extension Project started in May last year. The centerpiece of the project is a third bridge over the St. Lucie River. When done, the project will extend Crosstown Parkway from Tradition and St. Lucie West to Federal Highway.
During the question time, an audience member asked when the project would be done. “The council and I have been pretty consistent in saying November (of) ’19 or sooner,” Oravec answered.
He added, “It can’t get here soon enough. If you drive the streets, you know the recovery is in full swing.”
The Countdown to Crosstown at www.crosstownextension.com is at just more than 630 days as of press time.
The mayor rattled off some economic statistics, then used them to paint a broader picture about the health of Port St. Lucie.
“We have one of the highest rates of home ownership in America,” the mayor said. “I often think that’s what makes Port St. Lucie most special is it’s one place where the American Dream is alive and well.”
Another strong suit for the city is safety, the mayor said.
“Since 2012 our crime rate has come down 60 percent,” Oravec said.
Oravec highlighted progress at the Tradition Center for Commerce, Tradition Medical Center, and hinted that there will likely soon be positive news about City Center, what he dubbed “Project X.” “The what’s next is already happening,” he said.
Folks asked about a variety of topics, including whether Port St. Lucie stood to attract Costco after the retailer scrubbed contentious plans to build a store in Palm City. The city has informally courted Costco since the earliest mention it was going to open a store on the Treasure Coast.
“The best information I have available is Costco is looking at Martin County,” Oravec said.
“Things can change and that deal is not done.”