Preview of 2020 – Carole Mushier, President

Where will we be at the end of this year? Some things are obvious.
After Kim’s presentation, we now know what to expect in the development of the King Power Plant property. How exciting it will be to see the first earth turned!

We will continue to see slow but sure progress on the Mega Yacht Port. I am sure that both firms are committed but I get impatient when I don’t see physical evidence of new infrastructure. At least we can look over and see what is happening every time we drive over the bridge

I hope that we will see a good response to the RFP for Fisherman’s Wharf development and a decision with contract by the end of the year.

Something to watch for that hasn’t been talked about very much is that the City is on track to receive an FAA license for a Seaplane base and service in March 2020. It would be operated out of the old shuffleboard area next to the Riverwalk Center. This would be an exciting addition for opportunities in the City.

Each year at this time I receive an update and plans for the future regarding nourishment of sand on our beaches from Richard Bouchard, Sr. Coastal Engineer for St. Lucie County. I will miss the annual correspondence from Richard, a 2011 recipient of the SBA Islander Award as he is retiring in March. Joshua that’s a heads up! To quote Richard, “Unfortunately the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not receive federal funding to undertake the next planned nourishment along FT. Pierce Beach this spring. We are hopeful that funding will be made available in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2020 Work Plan for a project later this winter or early spring 2021. Please contact your Federal legislators and advocate the importance of this request.

On the meantime, the shoreline immediately south of the Ft. Pierce Inlet continues to rapidly deteriorate. Short term emergency measures are being considered such as an upland truck haul project similar to the 2011 emergency project. This type of project is only a band-aid in order to buy some time until the next federal nourishment.” End quote.

The City will evaluate the motorized scooter pilot program. This will be a hard decision. Many people are enjoying the activity in a responsible fashion but, unfortunately, there are those who do not follow the basic rules – not on sidewalks, single rider only, underage riders. It is ever thus – there are those who feel that rules are for everyone else and the ruin it for all. Then there is the question of liability – just one serious accident can leave the City vulnerable so there must be proper protection for the City in place.

What do you think? Let’s do one of our usual polls of people at this meeting. By show of hands – how many are in favor of continuing the program? How many opposed? (The results were approx. 10-1 opposed)

Next I am going to quote/paraphrase from an article in the newspaper on January 15, 2020.

“Vacation rental companies again are seeking to block Florida cities and counties from imposing local regulations on them, a move opposed by many property owners in parts of the state where short-term rentals in single family neighborhoods can be a noisy, disruptive nuisance. The battle over short-term vacation rentals has become an annual tug of war in Tallahassee.”

“Senator Wilton Simpson who is in line to become Senate president next year said Monday that he hopes to finally resolve one of the thornier issues the Legislature has grappled with in recent years. We’re trying to take this one off the table” end quote.

Now just what does that mean? The current Legislature has a history of curtailing home rule for cities and counties. They believe that the State knows best and that one size should fit all. If they had their way there would be little need for city and county governments except for agencies to enforce the State’s regulations. I don’t know Senator Simpson but I am fearful of his agenda. We can only hope that the lobbying efforts of local governments and organizations such as the Florida League of Cities will cause level heads to prevail.

Sadly, I will make a prediction that if Virgin does make a decision on the location of a train station on the Treasure Coast, it will not be Fort Pierce – most likely Stuart even though we are better situated. Of course that’s assuming they actually make a decision – they are masters at keeping folks dangling.

Now for the fun part – the reason why some of you come to this meeting! Get your tickets out. Chief please come down to do the draw as usual.