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Port St. Lucie City Manager Russ Blackburn to Retire in February

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Port St. Lucie City Manager Russ Blackburn
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City of Port St. Lucie
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PSL City Manager Russ Blackburn

Port St. Lucie - Monday November 28, 2022: After leading the City of Port St. Lucie through several milestone projects -- including the development of the Southern Grove jobs corridor, the completion of the Crosstown Parkway and the acquisition of the City Center property – City Manager Russ Blackburn has announced he will retire in February.

“In 2016, I was honored to be appointed as the Port St. Lucie City Manager. At that time, the City was still slowly recovering from the great recession. The past six years have brought challenges and success, which have pointed Port St. Lucie in the direction to become an elite local government in the United States,” Mr. Blackburn said. “Serving as your City Manager has been extremely gratifying. The time has come to allow someone else to take point. I am confident that the leadership and executive teams will effectively adapt and continue to provide exceptional public services.”

Mr. Blackburn’s retirement will be effective on February 17, 2023. The City Council is expected to discuss the next steps to fill the City Manager position during its meeting on January 9, 2023.

“Russ Blackburn has expertly guided the City of Port St. Lucie for the past six years and kept us focused on the implementation of our Strategic Plan, which has made our City organization stronger than it has ever been,” Mayor Shannon Martin said. “He has been an excellent City Manager, who has accomplished every goal the Council set for him. Russ will be greatly missed.”

During Mr. Blackburn’s tenure as Port St. Lucie City Manager, the City has grown to more than 225,000 residents, while maintaining its status as the safest large City in Florida. He noted some of the transformative accomplishments of the past six years include:

· The completion of the final section of the Crosstown Parkway, which includes the third bridge crossing of the North Fork of the St. Lucie River;
· The passage of the half-cent sales tax referendum, which is funding major road and sidewalk projects;
· Acquisition of the City Center property, which will help create a new vision for this property in eastern Port St. Lucie;
· Funding and construction of the Boardwalk at the Port and the construction of the children’s play area;
· Acquisition of the 1,200-acre jobs corridor, which brought job-creation from businesses including Amazon, Cheney Brothers, TAMCO and FedEx;
· The adoption of a Mobility Plan as an alternative to impact fees;
· Reducing the City’s total debt;
· Voter renewal of the tax abatement program for economic development; and
· The economic development investments of the former VGTI and Torrey Pines buildings that have been adaptably re-purposed as the Cleveland Clinic Florida Research Institute and a Florida International University graduate research institute.

During his career, Mr. Blackburn has served in City and County organizations for 47 years, and he has led local governments for the past 25 years. That included serving as Martin County Administrator and Gainesville’s City Manager.