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Port St. Lucie - Sebastian - Vero Beach St. Lucie, Martin, and Indian River counties (Treasure Coast)
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:13 AM
 
7 posts, read 31,374 times
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I’m still narrowing down some prospective job opportunities in various locations of South Florida. My fiancée and I are trying to learn more about areas/communities, now in the Stuart / Port St. Lucie --- (& surrounding areas) that will fit our lifestyle a bit more. We’re looking for areas that are safe/clean, have good schools, growing in a positive direction, and provide an atmosphere that she and I can go out in public and be treated as a 'more' normal couple (I am white and she is black). We are a younger professional couple looking for a place where we will feel more comfortable. We looked at Miami but it seems too expensive and over crowded; read nothing but negative stuff about LIVING in Key West; Naples is too crowded and over priced; etc…etc…etc…

(If you have any other suggestions as to where we should check out, we would be most appreciative!)

Thanks for your input!
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:34 AM
 
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Hi there,

I grew up in Port St. Lucie. I don't think people will look twice at you and your fiance for being interracial (if anything, they'll do a double take simply because black female/white male couples are less common than the other way around it seems!)

That being said, Port St. Lucie schools are not ranked as highly as schools in Martin County: Jensen Beach, Stuart, etc. (Jensen Beach is a growing, nice town)... but really, Port St. Lucie schools will probably be a lot better in the coming years as growth slows a bit and the district can catch its breath! Nonetheless, it's not like Port St. Lucie schools are falling apart and failing their students.... there are still plenty of fine A and B ranked schools in Port St. Lucie. I know plenty of young professionals and soon-to-be professionals that are graduates of PSL public schools! Martin County just knows how to teach their kids how to pass the FCAT!!

Crime is incredibly low in both Martin and St. Lucie Counties, so both options will meet that criteria.

Are you looking to buy or rent? Port St. Lucie is more affordable than Martin County to buy, and rents are roughly the same. What is your lifestyle "like"? Where will you be working? These types of questions can help me steer you in the right places in Martin and St. Lucie counties.
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:55 PM
 
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Thank you so much for that response TriMT7… As far as our lifestyle, we enjoy a laidback / small-mid town atmosphere. Not too much into the “club scene”. We are originally from, and do love many aspects of, the South but in most cases it seems that the places we love tend to be the more ‘old-fashioned’ South - which can usually make life for a couple like us a bit more difficult.

From what I’ve read, and have been told, South Florida seems to be one of the few places in the South (even though many say the REAL South stops at I-10) that we may be able to find a happy/comfortable home (perhaps less rednecks)… A place she and I can do business without our personal lives being affected --- which will probably always happen, but we’re looking for a lot less of it.

As far as where I’ll work - one opportunity is in Stuart but we don’t have to live right there. She’s in real-estate and is waiting on where I decide to work first.

Am I right that the Stuart / Port St. Lucie areas are fairly “up-and-coming” areas? -- Places that haven't reached their economic peaks yet? Are they taken over by the snowbirds yet, like so many other places in SF?

(A plus is the warm weather and, for me, the potential inshore fly-fishing opportunities!)
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:23 PM
 
Location: FL/TX Coasts
1,465 posts, read 3,851,299 times
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just my opinion: the real estate market has cooled down a lot and is far from bouncing back. I am not saying that people are not buying homes/properties but it's done at a much slower pace than 2 years ago. Home insurance and taxes have altered the market without forgetting hurricanes.
you may want to read www.tcpalm.com it's an online newspaper for the area.
And good luck.
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,179,707 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leao2u2 View Post
Am I right that the Stuart / Port St. Lucie areas are fairly “up-and-coming” areas? -- Places that haven't reached their economic peaks yet? Are they taken over by the snowbirds yet, like so many other places in SF?
Quite the opposite. Port St. Lucie was started as a retirement community and almost everyone wwas a snowbird. My wife's parents lived here in the Winter for 9 years before finally selling out up North and living here full-time. When we moved here, 35 years ago at age 32, we were one of only about 2 dozen families who had small children.

Today, it's hard to find a snowbird. The average age is down in the 30's, and they're building schools left and right because of the number of kids coming here. I sort of disagree with TriMT7 about the relative quality of schools (which is hard for me to do, because I rarely disagree with TriMT7). The Martin County schools (Stuart and vicinity) have a reputation for being better schools, but we looked hard at them years ago, and decided against living in Martin County. There is a lot of snobbery there -- people think their schools are better because the Martin Countians look down their noses at St. Lucie County -- but there is a lot of Rich Kid partying going on, too. St. Lucie County has a better advanced student program and graduates more kids with IB degrees.

What hurts the overall school rating in St. Lucie is that there are more migrant workers in the county, which tends to affect graduation numbers, and graduation numbers are a major component of school ratings. The leadership in St. Lucie County is superb -- the superintendent was named Superintendent of the Year for all of Florida for 2007 -- and just in today's newspaper, there was an article that said the St. Lucie County was not going to wait for the state to finally enact the smaler class sizes that the voters mandataed a couple of years ago, but would use local money to institute smaller class sizes, now.

If you are looking to have a resonable life style in a safe community with decent schools and good housing at reasonable prices, you will be hard-pressed to do better than Port St. Lucie. Of course, that's one of the reasons why it has been one of the fastest growing communities in the nation.

About the way you and your wife will be received, all I know about that is that the band director at Port St. Lucie High School is white and his wife is black, and they, and their child, are accepted everywhere, including all the students and band parents. He recently took his band to the state concert competition, by the way, and received straight Superior ratings from the judges. But, the important thing is, there are no racial barriers, no ethnic "sections" and much less prejudice in Port St. Lucie than I have experienced elsewhere. That's not to day there are not individual bigots; such people are everywhere. My Mother, bless her soul, was raised in an era of bigotry and never overcame it. There is no community bias, however, and you will be welcomed everywhere you want to go.
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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I really appreciate the reply’s guys!!! So far, Port St. Lucie really seems like the route for us to try -- & we’re in our early 30’s as well.

I can see why an area like this could experience fast growth. Can anyone tell me if Port St. Lucie (or even the Stuart area) is fairly prepared for growth via comprehensive planning (strict or semi-strict ordnances/zoning)? If so, do you see it being effective?
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
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You'll likely get two sets of opinion on how well prepared PSL is for growth. I tend to see the glass as half full, so I recognize the efforts of the city and applaud them. Zoning and code enforcement are effective, although there are individual houses here and there that may be in the middle of the code enforcement process and are not up to snuff. That's rare, and there are actually codes regarding things like screens and siding -- you can get cited for have torn screens or rotted siding. Inoperative cars, scrap and junk are jumped on immediately.

However, I must sadly report that today, St. Lucie County announced an immediate hiring ban, leaving 26 positions unfilled, and Port St. Lucie announced that animal control and code enforcement may have to be shut down, along with closing several parks and recreation areas, and that as many as 130 of the 360 police department officers and employees may have to be laid off. This is directly due to the property tax discussions ongoing in Tallahassee. The city employees offered to take a pay cut rather than have services curtailed, but the legalities are too difficult. The employees work under contracts that would have to be renegotiated, while layoffs can occur without consultation.

If these hiring freezes and layoffs occur, the city will rapidly go downhill, and no one will want to live here.

As far as preparing infrastructure, the city has been pro-active. They just completed a city-wide upgrade to central water and sewer services, several major collector roads have been upgraded, a central crosstown parkway is under construction, a new turnpike interchange is just ready to open, a new city center is under construction including a performing arts center, and much more.

Of course, if the property taxes are curtailed, most of this will come to a grinding halt, also.

If property tax reform occurs the way the legislature is talking, I will not want to live in PSL or any other major city. Fortunately, we are nearing the start of our house construction on our rural Okeechobee property, where I'm so far out of town I won't get much in the way of services, anyway.
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Old 05-03-2007, 07:06 PM
 
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How does Vero fit in with this scenario? Too upper crust white bread waspy?
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Old 05-04-2007, 03:37 PM
 
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Thaks so much again pslOldTimer!
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Old 05-04-2007, 04:11 PM
 
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I support the property tax reform. I haven't seen a police car anywhere in Tradition. I haven't seen any stray dogs in Tradition either. In addition, it is taking them forever to approve a fence and accordian shutter and they haven't approved yet. I know they are not that busy since building activity has slowed down substantially. I am calling them often and patiently to explain the need to have my fence installed as soon as possible and accordian shutter installed before the huricane season (I know it is my contractor's job but I was told the home owner's call is more effective). I am not saying we don't need police or animal control. I do think that the city need to learn how to run a place efficiently. We all learn to live within our budget. We buy the house based on our budget too. I know PSL has grown a lot and I believe the city income has grown trendmously becasue of property taxes. I know Martin county has much lower property tax than PSL. Palm Beach County has lower property tax than PSL too.
By the way, at all the technology transfer and veture capital meetings, I always see Saint Lucie County officials there to entice the industry to move to PSL or Tradition. I have chated with them often and felt their desire to develop. I haven't seen any other county present in these meetings. This is one of the reasons we made decision to accept the job offer and move to PSL.
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