Background on the Port
The purpose of a Master Plan for the Port of Fort Pierce
Since the mid 1980's, all of Florida's 14 deepwater seaports have developed and updated deepwater port master plans to comply with the state of Florida's growth management policies. St. Lucie County was re-designated as the Port Authority for the Port of Ft. Pierce by an act of the Florida Legislature in 1998. As the Port Authority, St. Lucie County is responsible for maintaining this important document. The existing Plan was adopted in l989; due to subsequent statutory changes, it is necessary to develop a new Master Plan for the Port of Ft. Pierce. The timing for developing a new Plan is crucial as Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) program funding is linked to the Port Master Plan.
Port Authority History
The Port of Ft. Pierce first came into existence in 1920 when a manmade opening, the Ft. Pierce Inlet, was cut through the land barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. St. Lucie County became the Port Authority in 1918 and a continuum of legislation has named the County as the Authority since that time. In 1918 a special act of the Florida Legislature established a taxing district to fund this project. Approximately 65 percent of St. Lucie County was in this Ft. Pierce Inlet District, which was empowered to sell bonds to finance the project and to satisfy bond obligations through real property tax revenues. The Florida Legislature abolished the Ft. Pierce Inlet District in 1947 and replaced it with the Ft. Pierce Port Authority, which retained the same power but was also granted the legal right to acquire and lease real estate. In 1961 a Special Act of the Florida Legislature replaced the Ft. Pierce Port Authority with the Ft. Pierce Port and Airport Authority, both of which were run by St. Lucie County. In 1989 the name of the Authority was changed to the St. Lucie County Port and Airport Authority. In 1997 the Florida Legislature provided reorganizing, updating and clarifying provisions for the Authority. In 1998 the Legislature dissolved the St. Lucie County Port and Airport Authority and transferred its assets, liabilities, and responsibilities to the Board of County Commissioners of St. Lucie County.
Although the Port of Ft. Pierce lies physically within the City of Ft. Pierce limits, the responsibility of St. Lucie County. Management of the Port of Ft. Pierce falls under the jurisdiction of St. Lucie County, which is composed of five County Commissioners. An Interlocal Agreement is currently being developed to define the role of both the City and the County in the development and management of the Port.