PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — With more development booming in Port St. Lucie, WPTV is answering your questions as to whether the city's infrastructure can handle the new growth.
Port St. Lucie is the fifth fastest-growing city in the country with 231,790 population, according to a November ranking of U.S. Census data,
One of the latest complexes going up is a new Publix-anchored retail and commercial center in Port St. Lucie's Riverland community.
GL Homes broke ground Thursday on the 35-acre development at Community Boulevard and Marshall Parkway, about a mile west of Interstate 95.
It will be completed in multiple phases.
Already, Riverland, which spans 4,000 acres, has four housing complexes built and several more planned. It's approved for 11,700 homes.
Since construction started five years ago, about 5,000 people have already moved in, and with so many more expected to migrate over the next 10 years, the question we hear you asking again and again is this: can Port St. Lucie handle it?
"It's going up over my shoulder," said a Port St. Lucie resident, who asked to only go by Scott. "You have Amazon, you have Costco coming down, you have all this retail development planned, maybe a dozen communities built. Obviously from a convenience standpoint, it's great, but as the community and as Tradition is growing, from an infrastructure standpoint, can everything be handled?"
It's a question we took to GL Homes Division President Ryan Courson.
"Will Port St. Lucie's current infrastructure accommodate the amount of people moving in?" WPTV reporter Kate Hussey asked.
"We've gone through a process with the city and our own internal to make sure we’re putting in the infrastructure to support the growth that we're bringing to this area," Courson said.
Courson said that includes putting in a network of miles of roadways and a Paseo Greenway for walkers bikers and golf cart riders to divert traffic from more congested areas, such as Tradition Parkway.
"We're building this trail system to help alleviate some of that traffic on the roadways," Courson said.
Courson also said over the next 10 years GLHomes is planning a fire station, two schools and several more commercial amenities to accommodate the growth and make sure the city isn't overly taxed.
"We're making sure we're putting in the services for the residents that are going to live here," Courson said.
Thomas and Angelique Neidhart, residents of Riverland, said the Greenway is already working for them.
"Yeah, we just came from Publix in Tradition Square," said Thomas Neidhart on his bicycle, who said he's excited about the new Town Center. "A lot of shoppers are going to go to this Publix now."
WPTV also contacted the city of Port St. Lucie, whose Public Works Department said the city is carefully examining all the roads within its jurisdiction to identify areas that require improvement, with a focus on enhancing mobility and safety.
Future projects planned include widening California Boulevard and St. Lucie West.
The city said it also is upgrading traffic signals with the latest equipment to better monitor traffic volumes and patterns and is working closely with the Florida Department of Transportation and St. Lucie County's Transportation Planning Organization to do so.
"The City is engaged in negotiations with the master developers in the region to expedite their obligated roadway improvements and further support our systems," said the Public Works Department in a statement to WPTV. "Port St. Lucie’s Public Works Department always work closely with the project's contractor and agency to mitigate impacts. Examples include restricting when the contractor can implement lane closures and ensuring the scheduling of adjacent projects is coordinated to minimize overlapping construction traffic."