ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Like many other Americans, governmental, civic and business leaders often take time at the start of a new year to look back upon the old year to express their thanksgiving for past accomplishments and make resolutions for the future. Follow along as we hear their hopes and desires to meet the challenges and expectations of 2019.
St. Lucie County District 1 Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky sincerely wishes that every level of government begins to listen to constituents “in a bipartisan manner” and maintains a constant focus on the needs of our community and country.
“My resolution as commissioner is to work to maintain the positive direction St. Lucie County has taken with intergovernmental cooperation from all four corners of the county,” he said. “That includes seeing Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County business development efforts succeed, which will provide private investments, jobs and a 12-month-a-year economy.”
In addition to hopes for the continued growth and manufacturing development at the Port of Fort Pierce and the Treasure Coast International Airport, Commissioner Dzadovsky is dreaming big to see the economic growth impact the city’s less prosperous areas and continued efforts to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon.
“The opportunity for infill development is just waiting for infrastructure support to encourage private investment,” he emphasized. “Securing water and septic-to-sewer wastewater options community-wide and fighting to keep bio-solids and other contaminants from our waterways would support a cleaner Lagoon. Part of this big picture is the opportunity to remove the aging wastewater plant from the island… an environmental threat that looms along the Indian River Lagoon.”
The commissioner also has a poignant individual resolution as well.
“My personal resolution after a personal family loss is to make the time to reconnect and visit family members more often,” he explained.
Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson said her New Year’s Resolution for 2019 would be for the City of Fort Pierce “to live up to its great potential and turn possibilities into probabilities” through the use of planes, trains and new activity at the seaport.
“There is strong support for Fort Pierce to have a Virgin Train/Brightline station,” she emphasized. “There is a seven-acre parcel in historic downtown Fort Pierce that could be a great site for the station, and an alternative location south of Orange Avenue along Depot Drive. A seaplane base makes a lot of sense for Fort Pierce, and the Seaplane Pilots Association has contacted city officials about this possibility. Our Port may be bustling with Megayacht activity and the Treasure Coast International Airport in neighboring St. Lucie County will thrive on maintenance and repair operations.”
Mayor Hudson highlighted the continued growth and successes at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Indian River State College, as well as significant development along the Jenkins Road corridor and new policies at the Fort Pierce Police Department to make the community safer in 2019.
“Just imagine all the other possibilities we don’t even know about that could help Fort Pierce realize its great potential,” she exclaimed.
Fort Pierce City Manager Nick Mimms called 2018 “a monumental year” during which city officials learned valuable lessons to improve every aspect of Fort Pierce municipal government.
“Looking forward to 2019, there are great opportunities to continue the positive momentum to improve the quality of life for the residents, businesses and visitors of our beautiful community,” he said. “My New Year’s Resolution for 2019 is to implement a comprehensive approach to strategically enhance economic development activities focused on family engagement, workforce development and amplified business relationships.”
Mr. Mimms said much of that effort will focus on programs for youth development and “high level mentoring and tutoring” to prepare the next generation for the workplace.
“We will intensify collaborative efforts with our exponentially improving school district and award-winning state college to develop our local workforce to fulfill skilled positions locally and abroad,” he added. “We will continue to build functional relationships with our local businesses to assist them with sustainability and expansion. My unwavering aspiration is to exhaust all effort to achieve much-anticipated and make 2019 the most memorable year in Fort Pierce history.”
St. Lucie County Planning & Development Services Director Leslie Olson also touched on the expansion of the local economy, highlighting the county’s efforts in 2019 to facilitate both the growth of local businesses and the attraction of new ones to the area.
“Our department will be focused on streamlining all of our development processes while implementing an online permitting and plan review system,” she said. “This system will take all development applications online for an expedited review, including permitting, site-plan review, environmental resources permits, stormwater permits and engineering permits.”
Ms. Olson also highlighted her department’s aim to provide “five-star customer service” though next-day inspection services and a 15-day building permit turn-around while simultaneously implementing the aforementioned system.
“This is a stretch goal, and we aim to meet it,” she added. “That’s my New Year’s Resolution: more high quality, high-paying jobs for our citizens and faster, more efficient land development review.”
St. Lucie County District five Commissioner Cathy Townsend emphasized that the county is wrapping up the old year on several positive notes, particularly at the Port of Fort Pierce.
“We are ending 2018 with the Bell Family’s willingness to participate with the Port property,” she said, “as well as FP Yacht’s presence and the county’s recent partnership with Derektor Yachts. So now we have aligned ourselves to be the leading county in Florida with the port.”
Commissioner Townsend has high hopes for 2019, particularly in the growth of the northern part of the county and improvement in infrastructure due to the passage of the half-cent tax increase last November.
“In 2019, we will bring our airport into fruition, improve our Kings Highway airport vision and have tenants in our new hanger,” she added. “We are in a wonderful place right now, and I am hopeful for the future of our north side of the county and the continued improvement we will all start to see with our infrastructure. The residents saw the need and have allowed the opportunity.”
The commissioner said she has decided “to not stress over the small things” in 2019 but rather reflect on all the blessings she’s already received. She recommended everyone do “random acts of kindness” in the new year and find something to smile about.
“So for 2019, remember hope begins when you stand in the dark looking out at the light,” Commissioner Townsend emphasized. “Whatever is beautiful, whatever is meaningful, whatever brings you happiness, may it be yours in 2019.”