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Port St. Lucie turns 50

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – Until the 1950s, what is now the city of Port St. Lucie was mostly scrub land in southern St. Lucie County. It included some farms, a fishing camp and a few businesses along U.S. 1. Today Port St. Lucie is by far the largest city on the Treasure Coast and the ninth largest in the state, with a population of 165-thousand. For a while, it was the third fastest growing city in the U.S. Soon it will celebrate its 50th birthday. Under the General Development Corporation, Port St. Lucie started as purely residential. Later, under the developer Core Communities, businesses and recreational facilities were included in the new St. Lucie West. Then came Tradition, a huge planned development. Today Port St. Lucie is home to Digital Domain Park, where the New York Mets hold spring training, a campus shared by Florida Atlantic University, Indian River State College, Barry University and Keiser University, and the Florida Center of Innovation biotech research park, which eventually is expected to generate 30,000 jobs. Starting on Monday, April 25, Port St. Lucie will mark its 50th anniversary with six days of celebrating. Happy birthday, Port St. Lucie! To me, you are the epitome of the "New Florida" in the best sense of the term. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.