Tradition in western Port St. Lucie

City’s list of awards continues to grow

Port St. Lucie as a place to live and put down roots is a winner in so many ways. From November 2019 through January 2020 the city picked up 11 more honors to add to its awards list. In 2019, the city logged more than 46 awards and honors.

According to the city’s annual Citizens Survey, a large majority of residents are satisfied with their quality of life. A new survey, again conducted by the National Research Center, is currently underway. The feedback from the survey helps the city plan or enhance goals to make the lives of residents even better.

new entrance at Clover Park

Mets stadium gets makeover, new name

The New York Mets and their Port St. Lucie fans are in for a big surprise as they meet the new and improved stadium for spring training.

The race to complete finishing touches on a $57 million remake of the 32-year-old stadium was ending in time for the Feb. 22 home opener.

The stadium, known since 2017 as First Data Field, in January was renamed Clover Park, a reference to the Clover point-of-sale product First Data recently acquired in a merger. Clover enables credit card payments at thousands of U.S. businesses, including sports arenas. It has been used at the Mets stadium in Port St. Lucie since 2017.

Coffered ceilings

Valencia Cay

Leading the way in Port St. Lucie for the explosive residential growth south of Tradition is Valencia Cay at Riverland. The 1,087-unit development by GL Homes will be the tip of the spear for an L-shaped parcel with more than 3,800 acres proposed for Riverland residential communities south of Tradition.

Valencia Cay is just southwest of the entrance into Tradition at Interstate 95, featuring boulevards with streets that wind in and back around some of the 21 man-made lakes in the 55-plus community.

Located on 385 acres of former citrus groves, Valencia Cay is the flagship development for the 3,800-acre Riverland Development of Regional Impact. Riverland’s six square miles will be Port St. Lucie’s second largest DRI after St. Lucie West and twice the size of Tradition.

Connected communities will be home to 11,700 approved units in the five miles south, ending at the C-24 Canal — also the St. Lucie-Martin County line.

rendering shows the playground planned for the city’s new Winterlakes Neighborhood Park

Taking steps

Residents of Torino are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Winterlakes Neighborhood Park. Construction on the 28-acre park began in October 2019 with an expected completion early this fall. The city’s newest park will provide residents and their furry friends new opportunities to play and stay fit.

The park, at 5241 NW Jennebo St., features two practice baseball/softball fields, a basketball court pavilion, four pickle ball courts and two tennis courts. A walking/jogging trail will encircle the perimeter with 10 fitness stations to enhance workouts. A large open field will be available for multiple purposes like soccer or football and a large picnic pavilion will be perfect for family and group gatherings.

Michael Szabo’s Relate

Art everywhere

As the sun drops behind the horizon, two eye-catching globe-shaped sculptures gleam with interior lights near the MidFlorida Credit Union on Gatlin Boulevard. They were contributed by the credit union to the city’s Art in Public Places program — a program many residents don’t even know exists.

But the day is coming when they can easily learn a lot about it because the city plans to create something it doesn’t have right now: a list of all public art and its locations. Eventually people may be able to take self-guided art tours by bicycle or car or even in some cases, on foot.

Orchid Society in bloom for nearly four decades

With just about 90 members as of 2020, the Port St. Lucie Orchid Society comprises many like-minded orchid lovers. The group was formed in 1982 by a small group of orchid enthusiasts who wanted to learn more about the flowering plants. The intention was to teach and learn from one another about orchid care, maintenance and growing practices.

“The society was incorporated (in) 1996, as a (non-profit) corporation and contributes regularly to the community,’’ said Dana DeMarco, president of the society. “Since that time, the society has become a positive, active organization dedicated to education, good growing practices and camaraderie in our local orchid community.”

As the society has grown, so has the number of active roles. The PSL Orchid Society has a group of officers as well as chairpersons and many dedicated volunteers for various events, meetings and other responsibilities. There is even someone in charge of the ‘homeless orchids’ or orchids in need of new homes.

certified respiratory therapist, Rachelle Tetreault


Growing up in rural Kentucky, Rachelle Tetreault remembers gathering sassafras leaves for tea, a remedy for various ills around the world. Even though her mother was a nurse, the family rarely went to the doctor. From her father, a preacher and social worker, she absorbed the idea that the human body was created with the ability to heal itself.

Tetreault’s family moved to Florida when she was a teenager. She married relatively young, but her husband’s death left her a young widow with two children. When her older son was 8, he often mentioned his best friend at school. The day she met the boy at the bus stop, she also met his father, Robert. Going out for coffee that morning was the first of many dates.

Jean Baptiste


As part of classroom preparation today, teachers lead classes through live shooter drills, training for the possibility of emergency situations. Port St. Lucie’s Amorce Jean Baptiste — known as “Mr. J.B.” to his John Carroll High School students — is himself a survivor of an emergency.

In 2013, Jean Baptiste was a math professor in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. “Professors in Haiti get involved; they want to influence students for good,” he says. Jean Baptiste belonged to an organization that openly criticized the government — a government that tried to silence his voice.

Cindy Whistler


At the sound of “roll call,’’ dozens of cats awake from their slumber or cease their play and scamper from all directions for their hand out of treats and affection from Cindy Whistler, owner of Nanny’s Fur Kids Cat Rescue, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. One by one, she addresses each cat by name and strokes it affectionately. The cats lovingly purr and rub against her as if saying thank you.

Most of the cats are housed in large comfortable cages that fill the room like a labyrinth. Others are gleefully cavorting with other felines in communal kennels equipped with climbing trees and resting hammocks. At least a dozen are roaming free, balancing on the tops of cages, greeting visitors and helping create floral arrangements in the back of the shop where Whistler still runs Abagail’s Florist.


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© 2019 Port St. Lucie Magazine | Indian River Magazine, Inc.

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