Clean water, recreational opportunities and job growth top the Port St. Lucie City Council’s priorities, based on the council’s recently crafted list to be presented to state officials during the upcoming legislative session.
Water and recreation – namely, the McCarty Ranch and Riverwalk projects – remain the city’s top two, having been on the list last year. New to the list is a request for support of new infrastructure in the jobs corridor, commonly referred to as the Tradition Center for Commerce.
“It’s taking off. It’s got potential. Now we just need a little a push,” Councilman John Carvelli said during a recent discussion on the priorities list. Though there are many other items that will eventually be presented to state legislators, the council agreed to a Top 3, noting that legislators probably won’t read much farther than that in the packet.
Carvelli, who originally wanted to keep the list untouched, fell in line with Mayor Gregory Oravec, who floated the idea of replacing a second water quality project with the jobs corridor infrastructure.
Oravec told his fellow council members that asking the state for funds to help install roads, water lines and other necessities could help the city develop the jobs corridor even faster. Doing so would help Port St. Lucie divest itself of properties on which it is paying various fees and taxes.
The city has already approved funding a road that would secure one manufacturer in the area. And it has had enticed City Electric and Oculus Surgical to move into the jobs corridor, located south of Tradition Parkway between Village Parkway and Interstate 95.
The city received funds previously through a governor-allocation for help with the Tradition Center for Commerce. Councilwoman Jolien Caraballo questioned whether the city could or should expect funding for the same project a second time around.
Instead, she suggested the city add Village Green to the priorities list, given the need for improvements there due to the extension of Crosstown Parkway.
Carvelli and Oravec disagreed, noting that Village Green would fall into the “revitalization” category instead of new economic development. The city is already seeking federal grant funding to address Village Green’s needs.
Another suggestion floated included seeking infrastructure dollars for the proposed career-technical charter school, which also would be located within the jobs corridor. Carvelli said the state might support such a project because of its tie-in with jobs and economic development.
Though Oravec concurred the school would have that tie-in, he said the city would only be providing the land for the school, not developing the site.
Also included in the Top 3 was further support for the Riverwalk Park project, which is expected to include a waterfront restaurant, a boardwalk along the river, public space and a historic village.
Both it and a request for funds for the McCarty Ranch stormwater project were presented to the state legislators last year. In the aftermath of the fatal shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the bulk of state funding was redirected to school safety rather than to individual proposed projects.
The Port St. Lucie City Council decided to keep the two on the list, confident that – barring another shortage of funding due to tragedy – the state would see the value of the projects.