Honors keep coming

golf course in Port St. Lucie
The many golf courses in Port St. Lucie make it a great place to live and enjoy leisure-time activities. ANTHONY INSWASTY

Affordable homes, relaxed atmosphere make city a great place to live


Port St. Lucie confirms what we already knew by collecting a slew of awards and honorable mentions from organizations around the country.

BEST PLACE TO LIVE – Port St. Lucie is moving up in the world, gaining 15 spots from last year to rank 63rd of the top 100 best places in the United States to live, according to U.S. News & World Report. Among best places to live in Florida, it ranks No. 10. Topping this year’s nationwide list is Green Bay. Port St. Lucie was recognized for “a more relaxed atmosphere than its larger neighbors. Its clean streets and quiet neighborhoods are woven around scenic waterways and lush green golf courses. Homes in the area can be affordable to buy or rent, compared with other South Florida housing markets.” But they noted housing is going up, with the median home price of $354,119, median age 47.9, and average annual salary $47,710. 

BEST PLACE TO RETIRE – The city ranks No. 22 in the U.S. News & World Report listing of great places where seniors can find a quality of life that best suits their needs. With a quarter of the population 65 or older, seniors enjoy the warm weather, relatively low cost of living, choice in medical facilities and low crime rate. 

SAFEST AND FASTEST-GROWING – Port St. Lucie ranks second in safest places in the nation to live, based on FBI uniform crime reports, and fifth in a national list of fastest-growing cities, according to U.S. News & World Report. The criteria included net migration [people moving in vs. moving out] as shown by U.S. Census data over a five-year period.

POLICE DEPARTMENT ACCREDITATION – The Port St. Lucie Police Department recently received state accreditation for the eighth time from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. Accreditation is achieved by maintaining compliance with more than 500 professional standards. An independent reviewing authority certified the department as meeting specific requirements and standards. The honor came with the award of “excelsior” status — meaning the department has earned accreditation in five re-accreditation cycles. 

PORT ST. LUCIE IS AN ALL-AMERICA CITY FINALIST – The city was selected by the National Civic League for its effort to engage residents, especially its youth, in decision-making. Port St. Lucie is one of only 20 cities in the nation to be named a finalist. The winner will be announced June 11. The cities range in size from 4,700 to more than 8 million residents in 12 states. Port St. Lucie’s application focused on its annual Citizen Summit and its citizen-driven planning process, an extensive array of youth engagement activities, and the success of the Southern Grove jobs corridor.

PORT ST. LUCIE IS ONE OF THE MOST ETHNICALLY DIVERSE CITIES – Four Florida cities, including Port St. Lucie, are among the most ethnically diverse in the country, says financial site WalletHub. Orlando heads the Florida list, followed by Tampa and Fort Lauderdale with Port St. Lucie placing fourth. The four were among the 100 most ethnically diverse in the country and five other cities in Florida were among the top 225.

Total Truck Parks is opening its largest facility ever in Port St. Lucie in the Midway Business Park.
Total Truck Parks is opening its largest facility ever in Port St. Lucie in the Midway Business Park.

TOTAL TRUCK PARTS OPENING ITS LARGEST FACILITY – The company is opening a 47,000-square-foot showroom, repair area and parts warehouse on 6 acres in Midway Business Park. Total Truck Parts is the largest independently owned commercial truck parts and repair business in the southeastern United States and already employs 14 people in Fort Pierce. The new Port St. Lucie location will have the potential to more than double local employment to 30, with wages at 25% above St. Lucie County’s average wage. 

PORT ST. LUCIE AMONG THE TOP HOTTEST ZIP CODES – Real estate site OpenDoor says Port St. Lucie ranks 19th on a list of the most desirable zip codes across the U.S. where OpenDoor operates. Respondents point to COVID-19 causing a recalibration of work and home priorities leading them to seek moving away from city centers. The data was culled from Multiple Listing Services, commonly known as MLS.

CITY SNAPS UP BUDGET AWARD – For the 33rd year, Port St. Lucie scored the Distinguished Budget Presentation award from the Government Finance Officers Association for the way it presented its annual budget last fall. The budget was recognized as outstanding for excellence in supplying objective measures of progress and for providing a coherent statement of organization, strategic goals and strategies that address long-term concerns and issues.

Meghan Wood, owner of the popular Book Exchange
Meghan Wood, owner of the popular Book Exchange at work. SmartAsset says black Americans do well economically in Port St. Lucie. ANTHONY INSWASTY

BLACK AMERICANS FARE WELL ECONOMICALLY – To find how well black Americans are faring in cities, financial site SmartAsset used Census Bureau data to rank 133 places on six criteria including household income, home ownership and education. Port St. Lucie rated No. 16 with a median household income of $68,258, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The study noted that 72 percent of black residents are homeowners, 28.3 percent hold bachelor’s degrees and 63 percent are in the labor force. 

FIFTH FASTEST-GROWING CITY – Port St. Lucie made the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the U.S., according to a list created by financial site QuickenLoans.com. Port St. Lucie rates fifth with only one of the top six located outside of Florida. Quicken’s study looked at census population data and included consideration of new residences, gross domestic product, and hot real estate markets. The study pointed to Port St. Lucie’s nature preserves, nearby beaches, outdoor recreation space, golf courses and the New York Mets spring training facility.

A sandhill crane inspects new construction in Port St. Lucie
A sandhill crane inspects new construction in Port St. Lucie. RUSTY DURHAM

A TOP BOOM TOWN – Port St. Lucie ranks 11th among top boom towns in the nation in a 2022 study of 494 largest cities by financial site SmartAsset. The site considered growth of the population, income, gross domestic product, businesses, housing and changes in employment. The numbers revealed that the city’s population growth over five years is 17.6%. In the same five years, the number of businesses increased by 19.87% and the number of housing units increased by 14.34%. Fort Myers is the only Florida city ranked ahead of Port St. Lucie at No. 5. Go to https://smartasset.com/data-studies/top-boomtowns-in-america-2022 for more information.

PICKLEBALL OBSESSION – Port St. Lucie is the sixth-most pickleball-obsessed city in the nation, says Offers.net, which conducted a study based on Google searches. The website found searches nationwide for how to play the popular sport increased 284% from January 2020 to 2023. Port St. Lucie has at least four locations for matches: Whispering Pines, Winterlakes Park, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center and Minsky Gym. The survey says the average age of players is 39, with some as young as 18 and others as old as 85.

PGA Village Verona Pickleball Center
Pickleball is a hot sport in Port St. Lucie, named the sixth-most pickleball-obsessed city in the country. Here, players burn up the court at the PGA Village Verona Pickleball Center, one of many such places to play pickleball in Port St. Lucie, with more to come. KOLTER HOMES

TREE CITIES OF THE WORLD – This year’s award marks the first time Port St. Lucie was recognized on a worldwide basis. It joins 138 other cities named by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Arbor Day Foundation. It is one of six Florida municipalities to receive the designation. The Arbor Day Foundation has also awarded Port St. Lucie its 18th Tree City USA Award, and 17th Tree City USA Growth Award in recognition of effective urban forest management. Port St. Lucie has planted 75,524 trees as part of the Port St. Lucie Tree Challenge. Since 2004, 13,611 trees have been distributed through the twice-yearly Keep St. Lucie Beautiful tree giveaway plan.

See the original article in print publication

June, 2023

© Port St. Lucie Magazine | Indian River Media Group

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