Updated: Dec. 4, 2012
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The City of Port St. Lucie is proud to be a hometown where people live, learn, work and play, and celebrate all of life’s opportunities and dreams.
With 166,000 residents, Port St. Lucie is Florida’s ninth largest city by population. It occupies an area of 116 square miles in St. Lucie County on Florida’s east coast, about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach, half way between Miami and Orlando.
Average temperatures range from 64 degrees in February to 82 degrees in August, making the city and surrounding area a tourist destination and nature lover’s paradise. The attractive environment and top-rated park system stand out in southeast Florida, and the unspoiled river, top-rated golf courses and growing arts and performance community are key reasons for the city’s growth in recent years.
Port St. Lucie also attracts a vibrant mix of people because of its low crime rate, diverse housing stock and abundant open space, and because of the optimistic vision of the people who live here.
As a new hub for biotech research and life sciences, the city offers diverse economic opportunities, clear guidelines for prosperous and sustainable growth, and state-of-the-art infrastructure ready to support development and investment. Additionally, the city government is committed to delivering outstanding public services that enhance the community and the quality of life for people of all ages.
There are traditional suburban neighborhoods, new mixed-use neighborhoods with a variety of housing types in walking distance to retail and dining establishments, and the beginning stages of a downtown that is integrating urban commercial development with outdoor nature trails, waterways and social opportunities.
In other words, there is plenty of room to grow for businesses, for families, and for people seeking the amenities of a big city while enjoying the comforts of a familiar hometown.
The city government is led by a five-member elected City Council, which sets policy and determines the long-term vision for the city. The City Council appoints a City Manager to handle the daily business affairs of the city, and a City Attorney to provide legal advice to the Council and City Manager. This system commonly is called a "weak mayor" form of local government, because the Mayor's authority is equal to all other Council members in the form of one vote. This differs from a "strong mayor" form of government, which allows mayors individually to award contracts, set policy or take other actions independent of other elected officials.
Port St. Lucie City Council members must live in the district they represent, however residents throughout the city vote for every City Council seat, no matter which district. The Mayor is elected at-large in a citywide election and can live anywhere in the city. Like in the Council elections, all voters can vote in the mayoral election.
The Mayor and the other four City Council members serve 4-year terms. The District 1, District 3 and Mayoral seat will be up for election in November 2014. The next District 2 and District 4 seat elections are scheduled for 2016. There are no term limits for any City Council seat.
The city provides most traditional municipal services through several specialized city departments, which are directed by department heads. The department heads are appointed by and report directly to the City Manager. Major services include law enforcement (Police Department), water and sewer (Utilities Systems), Parks and Recreation, roads and drainage (Public Works), building inspections (Building), and several others.
Fire and rescue services in the city are provided by the St. Lucie County Fire District, which is a completely separate government entity from the city. Public schools in Port St. Lucie are run by the School Board of St. Lucie County.
Special events are common in Port St. Lucie, where several annual festivals and parades regularly draw large crowds to the Civic Center and the amphitheater at the Martin Health System Village Square. These include celebrations for Martin Luther King Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, Oktoberfest, the Fall Festival, the Annual Bonfire and Hayride and the Holiday Festival of Lights.
The city also hosts a weekly Green Market, a weekly Latin Dance Night, a comedy forum, several Botanical Garden festivals and plant sales, and a variety of music and art shows for all tastes.
The city has 39 public parks, a Civic Center, community centers, a state preserve and several walking trails, and two boat ramp parks accessing the St. Lucie River. The city-owned Saints Golf Course and a Club Med-owned golf course are at the center of town, and several others are nearby. The PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance here is one of the most prestigious training facilities in the country, and the PGA Museum of Golf features artifacts that would intrigue not only golfers, but anyone interested in historical documents and paraphernalia.
The Port St. Lucie area includes theaters, amphitheaters, galleries, museums and sporting events. The Lyric Theatre in nearby Stuart and the Sunrise Theatre in nearby Fort Pierce frequently host nationally recognized performers. Also in Fort Pierce, the U.S. Navy Seal Museum has become a major attraction because of the organization's prominence in national news stories. Port St. Lucie is the spring training home to the New York Mets, and home to Minor League Baseball’s St. Lucie Mets.
The city has many chain and locally-owned restaurants, and entertainment options include a paintball park and botanical gardens, as well as movie theaters and a popular family fun center with bowling, games and laser tag.
For people who enjoy fishing, there are many freshwater and saltwater fishing spots. The St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon, Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Okeechobee and offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean are popular destinations for amateurs and professionals. Local catches include marlin, sailfish, swordfish, dolphin, wahoo, kingfish, cobia, grouper, snapper, tarpon, snook, pompano, red fish, trout and flounder. Local waters are popular for sail boats, power boats, canoes and water skiers, and beach lovers enjoy the South Florida weather while hunting for sea shells or swimming and surfing in warm waters any time of year.
Port St. Lucie is a two-hour drive to major attractions such as Disney World, Sea World and the Kennedy Space Center. West Palm Beach area attractions, such as Lion Country Safari and the elegant Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, are a 50-minute drive south, and the Brevard Zoo is a 50-minute drive to the north.
Miami area attractions are about a two-hour drive from Port St. Lucie and include the Miami Seaquarium, Jungle Island, Monkey Jungle, Vizcaya, the Miami Science Museum and Planetarium, Coconut Grove and South Beach. Athletic teams there include the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Heat, the Florida Marlins, the Florida Panthers and the University of Miami Hurricanes.
Port St. Lucie is close to several beaches, and there are many places to view nature:
Other boat ramps into the St. Lucie River and the Intracoastal Waterway (which leads directly to the ocean) are a short drive away in the nearby cities of Stuart and Fort Pierce.
The Port St. Lucie Civic Center is a 100,000 square-foot, multi-purpose complex with a distinctive design to meet the diverse needs of a dynamic community. It is the city’s premiere location for events, festivals, conventions, banquets, live music and performance, interactive dinner theater and many social gatherings. It also is the community’s favorite venue for fitness and physical activities, with basketball and racquetball courts, a fitness center, a game room and daily instructional activities such as dance, yoga, aerobics and spin cycling.
The New York Mets hold their spring training in Port St. Lucie at Tradition Field, which also is home to Minor League Baseball’s St. Lucie Mets.
For housing assistance information, contact the city’s Community Services Department. Their phone number is (772) 344-4084. We also recommend you continue to explore the city's website. It has a wealth of relevant information, including:
There are two public transportation services in Port St. Lucie:
Both services charge a fee and are operated by the Community Transit division of the Council on Aging of St. Lucie, Inc., not by the city. By contract with St. Lucie County government, Community Transit is the public transportation provider in Port St. Lucie.
Palm Tran is a public transportation service run by Palm Beach County government. It connects the West Palm Beach area to Halpatiokee Regional Park in Martin County, which is not in Port St. Lucie.
There is no public transportation connection between Port St. Lucie and Halpatiokee Regional Park, which is approximately 16 miles from central Port St. Lucie. Also, there is no public transportation connection between Halpatiokee Regional Park and the Treasure Coast Mall in Jensen Beach, where buses connect to Port St. Lucie routes.
For more information, call Palm Tran at (877) 930-4287 (toll-free), or check the Palm Tran website, which includes a live chat feature for information.
There are several privately owned taxi cab companies that service the area. An Internet search using the key words “Port St. Lucie” and “taxi” will produce the names of several companies.
South Florida Commuter Services is a regional commuter assistance program offering alternatives to driving alone and providing ride share and transit route information at (800) 234-7433. They provide two Park and Ride lots in Port St. Lucie:
SFCS also connects callers to mass transit systems throughout South Florida, including Broward County Transit (BCT), Tri-Rail, Palm Beach Transit (Palm-Tran), Miami Dade Transit (MDT), Treasure Coast Connector, and Community Coach/Indiantown Shuttle/Stuart Shuttle.
For commuters heading south, South Florida Commuter Services has a bus route connecting West Palm Beach and Halpatiokee Regional Park in Martin County, which is not in Port St. Lucie. However, there is no public transportation connection between Port St. Lucie and Halpatiokee Regional Park, which is approximately 16 miles from central Port St. Lucie. Also, there is no public transportation connection between Halpatiokee Regional Park and the Treasure Coast Mall in Jensen Beach, where buses connect to Port St. Lucie routes.
The St. Lucie County Property Appraiser’s website shows home values and sizes in the city. You can search by sales dates and pricing, neighborhood or owner name.
While taxes vary widely from property to property, on average, the typical Port St. Lucie residential property was charged about $416 in 2012, plus about another $400 in fees for city stormwater drainage and trash pickup services. These amounts are for the City of Port St. Lucie only. There also are taxes and fees for St. Lucie County Government, the St. Lucie County School and Fire districts, and taxes from several smaller governmental agencies.
In 2012, the typical Port St. Lucie residential property paid a combined total of $2,000-$2,500 for all taxes and fees, however amounts varied widely depending on property values, exemptions and length of ownership.
City water and sewer service is available to every lot in Port St. Lucie and hookup is required for all new construction. For gas and electric, check with the providers listed below:
For telephone, cable television and Internet service, there are several providers in the area: