The City Manager of Port St. Lucie Russ Blackburn to retire amid population growth | Rare Techy
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Port St. has seen Lucie has gone through many changes over the past few years, and there may be more on the way.
On Monday, the city announced that their city manager, Russ Blackburn, is retiring early next year.
“I felt like this was a really good time for me because we’ve accomplished a lot in the transition to retirement,” Blackburn, 69, said. “We are a better city because of the hard work of hundreds of people and great leadership from the mayor and City Council.
Blackburn has been the city manager of Port St. Louis for six years.
According to Blackburn, a major challenge in Port St. Lucie is balancing the true growth of the city while still trying to maintain a good life for the people who live here.
“We have something for everyone in Port St. Lucie. It’s fun being the city manager,” Blackburn said. “This is a great city. It’s an honor to have someone appointed as city manager here. We have a lot going on, we have a lot of issues as a growing city that all have room for improvement. and Port St. Lucie. .”
Blackburn will be awarded for major projects such as the development of the South Grove corridor, the completion of the Crosstown Parkway and the sale of City Hall property.
In his time, Blackburn says the city has grown from 180,000 residents to 225,000-plus with more on the way.
According to Blackburn, the city is expected to nearly double in size, with a population of about 400,000.
“This plant has just exploded here and I don’t know. Where are we going with all the traffic and all the other issues,” said Anthony Oakes, a 42-year resident of Port St. Lucie.
“It’s not a sleepy town like I said it’s going to grow and stuff, and they’re doing really well here, but you know crime is on the rise in our little town, you hear it the sounds all the time, where are all the places. Are the animals going? They cleared all the forest there,” said Oakes.
Because of all the growth and marketing, Oakes is considering moving to a smaller part of Florida.
For others like local businessman Wayne Goldsmith, who owns a boat builder and heating company, the growth is good for business.
“Well, everybody who builds these houses puts in HVAC and puts in air conditioners and a lot of things like that so that’s a good thing,” Goldsmith said. “As a boater, a licensed captain, I see the waterways in a positive light. The fact is that they are doing a dredging project here in this little bay and some of the bays. and some of the bays of Port St. Lucie because of the growth and maintenance of the ponds introduced therein.”
Goldsmith says his challenge is to keep up with demand as supplies continue to be in short supply and hopes the city manager can focus on traffic issues.
“It’s growing really fast and hopefully the roads and the environment can handle it all, that’s all the prayer,” Goldsmith said.
Feb. 17 is Blackburn’s last day as city manager, and the city will discuss next steps to fill his position in January.
“I’m sure I do things around the house like most people would but I look to the community for opportunities to get involved,” he said. “We will continue to be residents of Port St. Lucie and want to continue to contribute to making Port St. Lucie better.”