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PSL Mayor Shannon Martin on the Challenges Posed by Growth

 Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin
City of Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin

Port St. Lucie - Wednesday May 24, 2023: A recent U.S. Census Bureau report ranked Port St. Lucie among the fastest growing cities in America is a sign of the city’s appeal, as well as the cause of growing pains. It comes as no surprise to PSL Mayor Shannon Martin.

“I hate to say it, but nothing really surprises me anymore about getting these high rankings in terms of growth in population," said the Mayor.

The Census Bureau report ranked Port St. Lucie 7th on their list of 15 American cities with the largest one-year increase in pollution, right behind the growth rate in Jacksonville which was 6th on the list, and just ahead of Cape Coral which ranked 8th.

No other Florida cities made the list, but the pace of growth, said the Mayor, is a familiar one to most. “It’s a pretty wide conversation with other elected officials around the state. Those cities are seeing the same thing that we’re seeing and having difficulties too.”

Planning to accommodate the growth is not the difficulty. “We have plans. We have a twenty-year storm water master plan, we have ten-year sidewalk plan, we have a ten-year re-paving plan, we have a ten-year parks master plan.”

The problem, she says, is funding to pay for it all. “The problem with growth is, it doesn’t pay for itself. We can never assess impact fees high enough in order to cover the cost of impacts that they’re creating.”

Port St. Lucie remains an attractive destination for many, says Mayor Martin. The weather, the ocean, the lifestyle, even home prices, which have surged, but she points out they're still lower than comparable homes in south Florida or the northeast or mid-west, where most of the new arrivals are coming from. And then there’s Port St. Lucie’s well-known reputation as the Safest city in Florida but funding remains a challenge. “It’s something we have to deal with every day. Its like great, do we have the funds to do the project.”

The Mayor spoke in greater detail about the challenges of growth, and the City's plans to deal with it, during a Town Hall meeting in Tradition last month. You can view her presentation below.