Future Plans

Building a home with Legos
Building a home with Legos is just one of many activities offered at the 2023 Citizens Summit. The summit gave people a chance to say what they want to see in the future in their city. CITY OF PORT ST. LUCIE PHOTOS

Port St. Lucie residents had a little fun while looking to the serious business of charting the city’s future


It looked more like a festival than serious city business with a dance team performance, bands, yoga demonstrations and giveaways in front of Port St. Lucie Community Center.

Turned out, it wasn’t a festival. Instead, it was the day of the annual Citizen Summit when residents get to tell the city what their priorities are for the future. The festivities were to entice more people to show up.

It worked. An all-time record number of people came to have fun and opine on everything from traffic to transportation, parks to the arts, and all else that affects them.

Inside, visitors found a speeding prevention simulator, four educational kids zones, a scavenger hunt, refreshments and about 50 project managers to answer their questions about the city’s plans and answer poll questions on matters ranging from traffic calming to streetlights to public art and taxes.

“More than 800 residents dropped into the community center in February to share ideas, chat with city staff and become co-creators in the city’s future,” said city spokeswoman Melissa Yumas. The event collected almost 3,000 responses to poll questions and more than 1,000 comments from residents almost all of whom live within city boundaries.

In contrast, in 2022 just 175 people attended. There were two events, one online that drew 75 people and another at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center that attracted about 100 people. To be fair, the second was on a windy day, and was held outside due to COVID-19.


The city gleans valuable information from these sessions and matches it with the goals on the Strategic Plan to help decide what areas to focus on in the coming years. 

One of the most enjoyable ways to determine the residents’ priorities was to give each person $100 in “PSL Bucks” to spend based on what’s most important to them. In the end, their spending reached $27,320. The top expenditure was $3,100 for parks and preserves development. The next closest was $2,490 on improving water quality. Third was advancing culture and the arts. Fourth was improving safety and fifth was planning roadways.

Longtime city resident Marty Zientz, who lives near Crosstown Parkway, said his top priority was improving the roads and planning for new ones, calming traffic and easing the rapid growth of the city. “The infrastructure has not kept up with the growth,” he said. 

He remembered when Becker Road was a washboard dirt road and Port St. Lucie Boulevard had just two lanes. “There are traffic jams,” he said. “The roads should have been widened a long time ago, but back then, nobody knew about the growth to come, so you really can’t blame anybody.” 

Slowing growth is a knotty problem, he added, because the city can’t take away people’s right to develop. His thought was to make development so expensive that builders would pull back. But, he added, the developers seem to be happy to pay in order to keep building and making money.

Every person who attended had a chance to use play money to “spend” on features they would most like to see in Port St. Lucie. The largest amount went to Neighborhood Parks and Preserves Development. The least went to facilitating buildout in the western area called Southern Grove.


In a companion event in January the city asked residents their opinions in the National Community Survey. More than 2,000 residents responded that they think Port St. Lucie remains a desirable place to live and they continue to feel safe. The top three values citizens chose for the city were cleanliness, safety and nature.

Since one of the city’s goals is to be a safe city, residents were asked during the summit how they think accidents and speeding could be reduced. There are many complaints about speeding on neighborhood streets and Indian River Drive. Fifty percent said police presence and enforcement is the best way. Thirty-three percent thought educational efforts and prevention programs would be best, while 17 percent said that signs should be the focus. 

Zientz thinks speed bumps might be effective. Some people want more road signs. Many voiced more policing as the best solution. Residents also called for removing or educating people about roundabouts, syncing light signals, and better signage.


The city recently divided itself into neighborhoods, each with its own name chosen by its residents. When polled, 33 percent said they’d like their neighborhood to have a family movie night, 16 percent were interested in group training for crime prevention or other group interests and 18 percent wanted more block parties with outdoor games. They also wanted more frequent trash pickup and a change in code enforcement regulations so that complaints can again be anonymous. More affordable housing was also requested.

When it came to roads, Port St. Lucie residents definitely had opinions. Among those are the need for more left-turn lanes, more space on main roads, keeping roads in good repair, faster road improvement and more roads like Crosstown Parkway. They also want more streetlights on the heavily trafficked roads, paved bike trails and more sidewalks. 

Water quality was a concern, too. Zientz and others said the ability to supply water to the public should be a high priority and development should keep up with the city being able to deliver good quality water. 


Fun plays an important role in determining the quality of life in the city. People were asked what kinds of concerts they want. The top choice was country music followed closely by rock. Hip hop and adult contemporary were at the bottom of the list. 

People love shows at the event center and topping their list of favorites were food shows followed by arts and craft shows. Pet shows were next. At the bottom were bridal shows and back-to-school expos. Outdoor festivals topped the list for family or sports events at the venue. Cheerleading and wrestling were at the bottom of the list.

Some of the ideas for more fun and pleasurable experiences included nature trails, walking trails, more art sculptures, things for young people to do, a splash pool, pickleball courts, large dog parks and a nature center similar to the Oxbow Eco-Center on St. James Drive.

As for the city council, respondents at the summit wanted elected officials to listen to what the community wants “and not make PSL a concrete jungle.” They asked that the city’s 24/7 reporting app, 1PSL, be marketed better so more people use it. They wanted taxes to go down and offered some suggestions on how to do that. They also asked for more efficient budgeting to keep pace with the city’s needs. One person asked the council to make homeowner associations weaker or ban them.

The next step is to integrate the results of the summit with the county’s strategic plan to help with future planning.

See the original article in print publication

June, 2023

© Port St. Lucie Magazine | Indian River Media Group

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