Port St. Lucie, Florida
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+15.3% since 2010
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The towns of Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce are among several that make up the south end of the so-called “Treasure Coast,” named for old Spanish shipwrecks lying off the coast. These are smaller, comfortable, more laid-back residential communities than the bustling beach cities farther south. Port St. Lucie is a small, business-friendly but largely nondescript community just south and inland from Fort Pierce along U.S. 1.
Growth is rapid, as is redevelopment as the town makes the transition from a sleepy backwater to a preferred small town destination. Employers include QVC, Tropicana and a Wal-Mart distribution center, but the area in general doesn’t have a lot of high paying jobs. Fort Pierce shares the story with a little more historic interest and typical beachfront amenities. Entertainment is provided by baseball spring-training camps, golf, water sports and the study and viewing of wildlife. The area is still less crowded and affected by sprawl problems than those areas to the south, but it’s also far from services such as healthcare and air transportation. The long commute times reflect distances from jobs rather than congestion.
The landscape consists of a barrier island and coastal plain—topography typical of Florida’s coastal cities. There is extensive agriculture, tropical trees, and vegetation inland. Lake Okeechobee is 40 miles to the southwest. The subtropical coastal climate is pleasant year-round. Summer temperatures are tempered by ocean breezes and by the frequent formation of afternoon cumulus clouds and showers. Temperatures of 90 degrees have occurred in all months but seldom reach 100. There is some hurricane risk, but the area is north of the major hurricane tracks.
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