St. Lucie County launches Port of Fort Pierce master plan update
BY ERICK GILL
The central question facing St. Lucie County as it updates the Port of Fort Pierce master plan is how the port will handle future economic and social opportunities.
The port, which is one of Florida’s 14 deepwater seaports, was initially created as a maritime freight and logistics center to ship agricultural products and cargo from the Treasure Coast. It now functions as a hybrid of working waterfront elements and community infrastructure. It is unlike most traditional cargo- and cruise-dominant seaports in Florida.
Every five years, Florida seaports are required to update their long-range master plans to identify, guide and coordinate port development and ensure alignment with local comprehensive planning. This update, along with ongoing investments in the new Derecktor Shipyard, marks an important milestone for the port and its working waterfront. It is poised for a renaissance that holds the potential to grow new economic and other beneficial impacts for St. Lucie County and the surrounding region. Charting a roadmap forward to achieve these ends is critical.
The plan update started in May and will continue throughout the summer with draft and final plans due in September. The effort included two opportunities for the public to participate with the first running from June 25 to July 12. Through the project website — www.planportFP.com — community members can learn more about the project, participate in a short survey on community priorities and sign up for project email blasts. Due to health and safety issues arising from COVID-19, in-person community meetings were replaced with online live-streaming events.
During these sessions, participants learned more about the project, exchanged ideas, and asked questions of the consultant team. Each event will provide background materials that will be posted on the website for viewing at a later date along with all other planning materials.
Initial public outreach efforts have focused on what county residents want for their port while the second series will seek community input on preliminary plans. The second series of outreach sessions will take place from July 22 to Aug. 9 and include a second public survey and other events. In-person meetings are a goal for the second series and will be determined in the coming weeks based on public health and safety guidance.
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