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 overdevelopment. 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 a 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 a 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. One response to the LOI was received which met the requirements of the LOI. City Council authorized the City staff to begin negotiations with the respondent to evaluate the proposed business plan for the construction and operation of the restaurant and recommend to the Council if a lease should be pursued. 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 for Phase I Westmoreland Park Site Improvements. In Fiscal Year 2018/19, the City received a FIND grant for $400,000 for construction of the southern extension of the Riverwalk Boardwalk from Westmoreland Park to Bridge Plaza just south of Port St. Lucie Boulevard. FIND grants require a 1:1 match.
|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 an environmental permit for construction of park improvements at 9.75 Westmoreland Middle Tract.|
|September 2017||City awarded a grant in the amount of $69,702 from Florida Inland Navigation District Grant (FIND) Westmoreland Park site improvements.
|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. The project is sponsored in part with funding assistance from the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND). These improvements were completed in November 2018.|
|May 2018||Contract executed with Masterpiece Builders, for Phase 1: Historic Peacock Structures Relocation and Renovation. This 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. The structures were relocated to the site in September 2018. An anticipated completion date for Phase 1 renovations is March 2019.
|May 2018||Army Corp of Engineers issues permits for construction of the Southern Extension of the Riverwalk Boardwalk from Westmoreland Park to Bridge Plaza Tract E boardwalk construction.
|August 2018||Florida Department of Environmental Protection issues permit for construction of the Southern Extension of the Riverwalk Boardwalk from Westmoreland Park to Bridge Plaza Tract E.
|September 2018||Historic Peacock House and Lodge relocated to Westmoreland Park.
|September 2018||City was awarded a $400,000 FIND Grant for construction of the Southern Extension of the Riverwalk Boardwalk from Westmoreland Park to Bridge Plaza Tract E.
|November 2018||Phase 1 Westmoreland Park improvements completed including entryway improvements and new roundabout.
Fiscal Year 2018-19
The fiscal Year 2018-19 construction includes the boardwalk from the Westmoreland site to Bridge Plaza Tract E. Design and permitting have been completed for this section of the boardwalk and construction is anticipated to begin summer 2019 following selection of contractor through the City’s procurement process.
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.
- 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.
Funding for the Riverwalk Boardwalk Extension and Westmoreland Park project is identified under General Fund Capital Improvement Budget #301 of the City’s Five Year Capital Improvement Program.
Contact for more information
Wesley McCurry, CRA Director
Phone: (772) 871-7386