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Banner touts 'Brightline your next step is Fort Pierce,' but no decision made

Stuart also is vying for stop by private rail company
Billboard in Fort Pierce. Dec. 13, 2023.png
Posted at 8:29 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 21:01:06-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Banners reading “Brightline your next step is Fort Pierce,” up on the Treasure Coast have a lot of people talking.

Fort Pierce and Stuart are part of the conversation on where to place the private rail companynext station.

WPTV reached out to Brightline representatives who say these signs don’t mean this a done deal in Fort Pierce as applications from the two places are due Dec. 22.

A Brightline train passes through Stuart during a recent test on the Treasure Coast ahead of service from South Florida to Orlando.

Region Martin County

Stuart, Martin County would split cost to build Brightline station, add parking

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Still, the banners put up caught a lot of eyes like Protein Harbor Smoothie shop owner, Oswal Ortiz.

"Looking at it right now that’s so amazing man," Ortiz said.

Fort Pierce is looking at the old depot behind Sunrise Theater. Audobon Development President and CEO Dale Matteson has indicated his company intends to apply for a stop at King's Landing mixed-use project, TCPalm reported.

Fort Pierce will be allowed to include the county-owned courthouse parking garage on Second Street in its application.

One plan is to put the Brightline station near the county courthouse in Fort Pierce. Dec. 13, 2023
One plan is to put the Brightline station near the county courthouse in Fort Pierce.

The possibility struck a special chord with other local business owners like Staci Dunn over at The Cake Lady,” who said she wants more people to know about the hidden gem that is Fort Pierce.

"I do feel like Stuart is already on the map," Dunn said. "People know Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, Vero and Orlando. They skip right over Fort Pierce and it’s beautiful here. The fishing is amazing. We’ve got beautiful shops. The restaurants are delicious.”

The proposed Stuart location is near the intersection of Southeast Flagler Avenue and Southwest Stypmann Avenue.

Less than an hour away at the Gypsea Cottage in downtown Stuart, business owner Kristen Couperus is also excited about the possibility of a Brightline hub coming to the area.

"Why not make it easier to get here. You may have heard of Stuart. You can get off on the train right in cute little historic downtown Stuart," Couperus, said. "So I think making the city more accessible who want to see it who want to check us out, Martin County is awesome."

Locals are also excited that Stuart’s plans includes parking. Should the station come to Stuart, Martin County and city leaders reached an agreement stating Brightline and the county will split the cost of the station. Meanwhile the city will cover the cost of a garage and 54 additional spots.

Until the decision is made people in both cities have the same message, "Choose us."

Brightline said it hopes to open a Treasure Coast station by early 2028.

Brightline currently has stops in Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Orlando.

On Sept. 22, Brightline extended service past West Palm Beach to Orlando.

Last week, Brightline announced it has increased service between Orlando and Miami, running 32 trains daily with 16 daily departures from Miami and Orlando.