The North Fork of the St. Lucie River runs through the heart of Port St. Lucie. The North Fork is an essential part of our history and gives us that special element that set us apart from other large Florida cities. Residents can still look at the North Fork and be inspired by its natural beauty, unencumbered by over development. At the same time, our residents and business owners also rely on it for their economic livelihood and recreation.
The City of Port St. Lucie has long recognized the value of the North Fork to the city’s (or area) residents. For years, residents have expressed their desire for more ways to be able to enjoy it. The City was challenged with finding these new opportunities while ensuring these plans fit in with the natural environment and our City’s character. The need for more ways to enjoy this valuable resource has long been a strong desire of residents, and the City Council worked to include plans for a new waterfront destination as priority in its strategic plan.
This process began more than two decades ago when the City began the Riverwalk boardwalk project along the river and develop waterfront land to enhance the public’s access to the river. Beginning in the 2000s, the City added approximately 2,000 linear feet of boardwalk along the river north of Port St. Lucie Boulevard to provide public access to the river from Veteran’s Park at Rivergate and Tom Hooper Park. At that time, the City also began exploring the idea of giving residents and visitors even more opportunities for entertainment and recreation in this area along the River.
With assistance from the American Institute of Architects, Treasure Coast Chapter, the City held a charrette at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens in March 2015 to solicit public input on the development of the park and boardwalk. Over 100 people attended the charrette.
Based on the input received from the attendees, the architects provided the City with a conceptual master plan that was approved by the City Council in November 2015 as guide for the development of the park.
In Fiscal Year 2016/17, the City received a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in the amount of $250,000 to help fund design, engineering, permitting, and site plan services for the southern extension of the Riverwalk boardwalk and the development of two city owned parcels on Westmoreland Boulevard. A contract was awarded to Culpepper and Terpening, Inc. in September 2016. Site and construction plans were approved by the City Council in May and June 2017. Design elements include a historic village, waterfront dining, open pavilions, children’s playground, and the southern extension of the Riverwalk boardwalk.
The approved plans for development include approximately .70 acres of leasable restaurant space for a private entity. The City is seeking a partner to construct and operate a water-front restaurant and accommodate waterfront dining in what is expected to become a showcase park on the banks of the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. The City has issued a Letter of Interest, inviting qualified parties to submit a proposal to lease, construct and operate a restaurant at this location. The LOI is available on the City’s website for interested parties. The City will provide the infrastructure including parking, sewer, and water lines to serve the proposed restaurant.
In Fiscal Year 2016/17, the City received a Special Category Grant for $350,000 from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historic Resources which requires a 1:1 match for the relocation of two historic structures from land previously known as the Peacock Ranch in western Port St. Lucie to the 9.75 acre Westmoreland Middle Tract. The structures are a board and batten house built in 1917 from Dade County Pine (Peacock House) and a board and batten lodge (Peacock Lodge) built in 1952 from first cut cypress. Following relocation, the restoration of the Peacock House and Lodge will take place over a period of years. The structures will be restored to provide a picture into old Florida living over the last century.
Additionally, in Fiscal Year 2017/18, the City received a grant from the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) for $69,702 which requires a 1:1 match towards construction of Phase 1 of the Westmoreland Middle Tract improvements.
|Letter of Interest: Restaurant
|July 2016||Local Initiative Grant State of Florida for $250,000 for project design awarded
|July 2016||Special Category Grant from State Division of Historic Resources to relocate historic Peacock Structures awarded
|September 2016||Contract for Project Design, Engineering and Permitting executed
|January 2017||Project Site Plan submittal
|May 2017||Project Site Plan Approval|
|May 2017||Phase 1 Construction Plan Approval|
|August 2017||South Florida Water Management District issues environmental permit for construction of park improvements at 9.75 Westmoreland Middle Tract.|
|May 2018||Contract executed with Pav-Co Construction, Inc. for Phase 1 Westmoreland Middle Tract Improvements to include entryway improvements to provide access to the park, the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens, the future historic village, and future boardwalk. Anticipated completion date: November 2018 The project is sponsored in part with funding assistance from the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND).|
|May 2018||Contract executed with Masterpiece Builders, for Phase 1: Historic Peacock Structures Relocation and Renovation. This is project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historic Resources and the State of Florida. Includes relocation of Peacock house and lodge, new foundations, new roofs, and new dormer. Anticipated completion date for Phase 1 is October 2018.
Fiscal Year 2018-19
Construction of approximately 2000 linear feet of a new ADA compliant boardwalk along the North Fork of the St. Lucie River from Westmoreland Middle Tract to just south of Port St. Lucie Boulevard. This segment of the boardwalk includes a pedestrian pathway to Bridge Plaza.
Fiscal Year 2019-20
Anticipated construction of a new ADA compliant boardwalk connection under Port St. Lucie Boulevard to connect the north and south segments of the Riverwalk boardwalk. This section of the boardwalk is pending approval of a design for the bridge crossing and additional regulatory permitting by the Florida Department of Transportation. This phase will also include improvements to the Promenade and Veteran’s Park at Rivergate boat ramp area to provide additional day use boat docking.
Westmoreland Middle Tract (official name to be determined)
The project will add additional improvements to the 9.75 acre Westmoreland middle tract that is located immediately south of the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens. Paved parking, a riverfront stage, public seating area, and children’s play area will be provided. The development of the park will include land available for lease for the construction of a waterfront restaurant.
Proposed Improvements Westmoreland Conservation Tract
Improvements will be made to provide public access to a 13-acre conservation tract that lies directly south of the 9.75 acre Westmoreland middle tract. It will include boardwalks, walking trails, and connections to the proposed Riverwalk boardwalk.
Restoration of Historic Peacock Structures
The City will continue to pursue grant assistance for the restoration of the historic 2611 S.F. Peacock House (built 1917) and the 2378 S.F. historic Peacock Lodge (built 1952). It is anticipated that the restoration will take place over a period of years based on the grant cycle.
- The City has identified several funding sources for the project.
- The major funding source is the City of Port St. Lucie Parks Impact Fee Fund.
- The Parks Impact Fee is collected at the time of construction of new residential development.
- The fee is collected to enable the City to provide the parks and recreation facilities to serve new residents.
- Additional funds include grants (awarded and proposed), revenue from special assessment funds, interest income, and $1.5 million from the $3.2 million settlement the City received from the State of Florida regarding claims against the Digital Domain project.
The following tables identify the funding source and proposed construction costs as identified in the Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP):
Project Funds: Riverwalk Extension Project CIP Fund # 301 (FY 2017-18)
|Cash Carryforward Fund # 301
|Parks Impact Fee Fund
|Revenue from Special Assessment Funds
|Special Category Grant (relocate historic structures)
|General Fund Operating Fund||$500,000|
|Neighborhood Planning Fund||$70,000|
Construction Costs: Phase II (FY 2018-19)
|Task||Estimate of Cost|
|Cash Carryforward Fund #301||$1,777,376
|Parks Impact Fee Fund
|Revenue from Special Assessments||$479,130
|Improvements Westmoreland Conservation Tract
|Potential Grant Funding (FIND & Trails)||$600,000|
|General Operating Fund||$200,000|
Contact for More Information
Wesley McCurry, CRA Director
Phone: (772) 871-7386