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Port St. Lucie discusses where to add new city parks

$220M price tag over 10 years
Posted at 5:28 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 11:28:44-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — When you go outside, is there a park nearby to enjoy?

As Florida continues to grow, there's more pressure to create, and preserve parkland. Monday, Port St. Lucie city leaders met to discuss balancing their wants with what they can afford.

Amanda Kingrey says she loves the brand new playground equipment at Woodland Trails Park, but she and her kids left the park after just 20 minutes.

“Just because there’s no shading. It’d be nice if there was trees or maybe a splash park to cool off the kids," said Kingrey.

The city has spent the past year crafting a long-range plan for all of its city parks.

A consultant has presented a vision focused on the “power of 10”… parks within a 10 minute walk of home, and offering 10 things to do at each destination.

To create new green spaces, and to maintain existing green spaces will cost a lot of green, an estimated $220 million over 10 years.

The city doesn’t have that money right now, so that consultant, Dr. David Barth, and the parks and recreation director went before city council with a proposed $50 million first phase.

“We were trying to come up with what projects could we fund that would respond to those priority needs," said Barth.

Using city resident input, proposals include a $10 million jolt to the Riverwalk park, $20 million towards a regional park in either Tradition or Torino, or perhaps money for both, and another $10 million for land acquisition, as the city is in the midst of another building boom.

“But right now, it’s starting to grow again, and the parks and recreation system is going to have to grow with it," said Port St. Lucie Parks and Recreation Director Sherman Conrad.

The council was disappointed to hear that a BMX/Skate adventure park was not among the top priorities, and asked for that project to be reconsidered.

Final decisions on city park preferences will be made over the summer.