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Greg Oravec says goodbye to Port St. Lucie after 6 years as mayor

Soon-to-be Islamorada village manager calls time in Port St. Lucie 'amazing'
Greg Oravec, outgoing mayor of Port St. Lucie, June 28, 2021
Posted at 4:36 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 17:54:14-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Change is coming to Port St. Lucie.

After more than six years on the job, the city's mayor is headed south to the Florida Keys.

Under the tenure of Mayor Greg Oravec, Port St. Lucie has seen job growth, new employment centers and homes for future employees.

The outgoing mayor becomes the new village manager in Islamorada on July 1.

Oravec said leaving the city after two decades of service was the hardest decision he's ever made.

"Well, the last six years have been amazing," he said Monday. "I mean, we have turned the city around."

When the official U.S. Census numbers are released, Port St. Lucie will top 200,000 residents -- good for the seventh-most populous city in Florida.

Oravec deflected a lot of the credit as the city enjoys a new boom phase.

Economic scars from failed business ventures like biotech company VGTI and film studio Digital Domain were partially healed through new deals with Cleveland Clinic, Florida International University and Christ Fellowship.

WATCH: Mayor Greg Oravec shares thoughts on tenure in his final days as mayor

Greg Oravec shares thoughts on Port St. Lucie in his final days as mayor

"One of the only places Cleveland Clinic does research outside of Cleveland is in Port St. Lucie," Oravec said.

The city has taken over management of the City Center and the Crosstown Parkway was completed, 40 years after its initial idea.

"It was incredible to be part of this relay race where we took the baton for the final lap," Oravec said.

Oravec's work with the city was not without its challenges.

As city manager in 2013, he was forced out by the City Council but elected mayor the following year. Oravec insists his decision to run for mayor had nothing to do with revenge.

"I ran for mayor because I love the city of Port St. Lucie, felt like I could make a difference and the people -- many people -- asked me to," Oravec said. "That's why."

Oravec said being mayor was the greatest honor of his professional life.

"And that is one of the things I'm most proud of here, is how this team, this council, this staff and the people of Port St. Lucie came together, put partisan politics aside, focused on a vision for our future and then did the hard work together of bringing that vision to life," he said.

The mayoral primary to fill Oravec's position is set for Sept. 21.

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