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A Dynamic Diverse Waterfront Arts & Entertainment Town


Fort Pierce is historic and its downtown has the feels of OLD FLORIDA. Unlike the coastal cities to the south of us, we haven't gone modern and ruined our scenic, nautical environment. Our downtown is ON THE WATER and boasts a dozen live music venues, 20 eateries/restaurants, and a variety of shops and businesses. There is a website with lots of pics and lists of businesses for you to visit! Have a look at THISISFORTPIERCE.COM  And we thank you for coming to our AWESOME town! Still affordable, lots of fun, and always amazing!





Priscilla's Appeal to Brightline - Sent Feb. 29

Dear Brightline, City, and County Officials

RE: Your Choice of Stuart as the Treasure Coast Station


Greetings and thank you for taking the time to read and consider this lengthy but urgent letter. As someone with many and strong connections and relationships in both Stuart and Fort Pierce, and having lived in both towns, I have a very accurate understanding of these areas, their residents and visitors. I’ve also owned and operated a business in both towns, with heavy public interaction.


What I want to make sure everyone at Brightline understands is this truth: The majority of people in Stuart are against the train / do not want it. The majority of people in Fort Pierce are for the train / do want it. Any well-done attempt you make to poll this information will confirm this for you. Right now, you can go on various Stuart and Fort Pierce community FB pages and read the reactions and comments of the public. I’ve shared just a couple of them with this letter. Basically, Stuart folks are bitching that traffic, Confusion Circle, and parking are already really bad, and that the station is going to be a nightmare for them – both during construction and after it is built. One comment was, “This is going to totally RUIN our town!” While Fort Pierce folks are lamenting that “Brightline made a mistake”. And indeed, you have. And here are many reasons why:


**Stuart is a TOWN. Fort Pierce is a CITY. Not only will you will reach and serve a much larger population in Fort Pierce, but there is a small-city mentality here versus a small-town mentality in Stuart. We are more open to mass transportation and public transportation, growth and development. We’re not trying to “remain quaint and small”.


**Stuart does not have a major hotel, and very limited overnight space. The only downtown Hotel has about 20 rooms and a few rental cottages. Fort Pierce is getting a Marriott Hotel – 8 to 10 stories, 140 hotel rooms and 116 residential units – a property that will appeal to and attract your ideal customer. I don’t know if “Ride & Stay” is something you’ve considered or promoted yet, but the option of spending one night at a Stop location, on your way to your final destination, makes tons of sense and could greatly increase revenue. Spend a night in Fort Pierce en route to Lauderdale or Orlando!


**Airport – we actually have an international airport here in Fort Pierce. It is larger in size (acreage) than the Palm Beach International Airport! Much room for growth in the future! Stuart does not have this.


**Train travel appeals to middle class people and upper middle class, while upper class / higher wealthy are more likely to drive themselves, pay to park at the airport, have a driver take them. Yes, Martin County has a wealthier demographic. But how many of them NEED to take the train? Very, very few.


**Physical space (more room for parking and the station itself) -Physical location (a station that is RIGHT downtown! No shuttle needed! Walking distance to restaurants, shops, and The Marriott Hotel)  -Projections are that Fort Pierce is "up and coming". (everyone knows it, everyone is saying it...)  Literally, if your researchers spend boots-on-the-ground time talking to people around downtown Fort Pierce, you’ll hear this over and over. Fort Pierce is poised for growth – and welcomes it, with a few (grumpy, limited) exceptions. J On the contrary, Stuart is done growing, there’s no real room for growth or improvements.


As Stuart gets maxed out, Fort Pierce is starting to develop, diversify, and improve! And it's attracting A LOT of new people and new businesses. Every evening at my live music venue, I’m meeting people who just moved here or are here looking for homes. Many are from New York, Boston – places that utilize trains! Don’t base your decision on the demographics of today – base it on the Fort demographics of 2 to 5 years from now!


**Waterfront!!  The Fort has more scenic waterfront space that is accessible to the PUBLIC than any town in our region. The capacity for boating, water recreation, fishing, and waterfront events is unprecedented! Our waterfront walkway and park all along Downtown, stretching for several blocks, combined with the beautiful walk over the bridge along Seaway Drive (way nicer than walking the Roosevelt bridge which is US1) – and the JETTY at the end of Seaway Drive, are stellar. Have the Brightline decision makers walked the bridge, walked out on the jetty, (and for that matter, have they dined in The Fort Steakhouse, Casa Pasta, and Pickled fine restaurants?)


**We have a Marina and Harbor that can accommodate BIG SHIPS / cruise ships - you won't ever be able to do that in Stuart. We’ve got the largest boat lift – “It was in 2021 when Derecktor again unveiled the world's largest mobile boat hoist, but this time at its brand-new shipyard at the Port of Fort Pierce. With a 1,500-ton capacity, the massive lift can safely haul boats up to 246' out of the water for service or refit.”


In addition, the Causeway Cove Marina property, which is for sale and will no doubt become something major and prosperous for the town.


**County Seat and Court House – say no more. Even Donald Trump is in court here.


**Attitude!  I've found the people here have a can-do and a help-each-other attitude. They are proud of their town and POSITIVE. I have only heard one or two complaints about Brightline in these past 9 months or so since it’s been a topic, and I bartend and hostess in Downtown Fort Pierce 6 nights a week. So many people have said they hope it comes here. I HAVE heard them whining about it in Stuart!  


**Attractions! Not only are we getting Kings Landing and more retail choices for visitors, we’re also getting CABO RIO, a high end, luxury RV Resort - Eco Friendly - 140 sites - just 15 minutes from downtown Fort Pierce and your next station.


AND Fort Pierce is also getting a unique, gigantic indoor surfing arena and waterpark, the largest on the east coast (possibly in the country - but I have not confirmed this). It will be called The Wave Garden (Surf Park, Wave Pool and more) and built at the 200-acre KOA site off of Midway Rd. We have the NAVY SEAL MUSEUM a national treasure.


**Diversity! (Our population, ages, tastes, cultures and styles here are eclectic and diverse. Do you want to look cool, and give the image that you embrace diversity in demographics? Or do you want to look like you cater only to the conservative wealthy? Are you marketing your trains to the rich and elite or are you marketing them as an affordable (and pleasant) alternative? I’m sure you run specials that middle class families and even lower income people can afford. Lower ticket prices and every seat full seems better than higher prices and empty seats. What type of company is Brightline, are you forward-thinking, community-minded…how do you want to be perceived?


Let's do GOOD - for the community and the environment. Less cars on the road - Heck Yeah!!!  More income to a town that actually NEEDS IT. Yeah!!


**Central Location!  A Fort Pierce station will be convenient for and utilized by Stuart, Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie West, Fort Pierce, and Vero Beach. Even Sebastian folks come down to the Fort, and would do so to ride south to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. A Stuart location is only a nice drive for those who live in Stuart, Jensen, or South PSL.


**Communication and Cooperation – Our City and County officials will listen to you, work with you, and help plan the growth of our town... together.


**Friendliness! I get told night after night, by visitors/ tourists, that they find Fort Pierce to be friendly and welcoming. They are surprised at how many restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues we have. (In short- they love it here!)


**Live Entertainment – Did you know that Fort Pierce is "Little Austin"?!  Because our downtown has 15 live music locations within walking distance, and another 10 within a 5 minute ride.


**We’ve got FREEVEE! Already in place, cars to take people from the Station to wherever they are going in town or across the bridge. Our town has already partnered with FREEVEE to provide free rides around downtown and the outskirts of the downtown - this absolutely benefits your riders and is already in place.


**EVENTS - The city and the businesses within it put on more events than anywhere I've lived (6 different South Florida and Treasure Coast towns over the past 28 years). There is always something going on year round, for visitors and residents. Have Brightline decision-makers been to and considered FRIDAY FEST, the Saturday FARMERS MARKET and Weds. GREEN MARKET – which are ongoing, year round events! Not to mention the many big events up and down N. 2nd St., from Oktoberfest to Halloween to St. Patrick’s, to parades, contests, tastings and more.


**The Peacock Arts & Entertainment District – In its infancy now, it will be very special and quite an attraction in years to come. Historic buildings, resident artists, art galleries, cafes and entertainment are all part of the plan for this area just west of the train Station site. You can speak to Gus Guitterez, who is actively involved in this effort and owner of the most gorgeous, unique, eclectic property in the Treasure Coast – The Peacock House on Orange Ave. Which includes a peacock sanctuary that visitors will be able to see! Talk about UNIQUE!


**Beauty - I beseech all of the Brightline decision makers to come stroll our waterfront and City Marina, see the large waterfront park beside the Marina, go out Seaway Drive and visit Chuck's Seafood, Square Grouper, Manatee Island, and then go to Jetty Park - walk out on the Jetty itself - Wow! Nothing like it.


**Pleasure!  Spend a day/ evening here. Pop into shops, chat with the merchants, dine at our downtown eateries, attend a show at the historic SUNRISE THEATRE (just blocks from our train station location -- and no doubt, you will thoroughly enjoy yourself.


**Downtown Business Alliance - We have a thriving, very active Downtown Business Alliance that would willingly work with you, partner with you, provide feedback, take feedback, and co-promote. You are more than welcome to send a Brightline representative to one of our meetings. We meet the last Weds. of each month at 9 AM at 2nd St. Bistro. Jose, owner of Legit Cuts in downtown, leads the meetings.


**Need: Last but not least – we don’t just want this Station, we NEED this station. It is the boost we need to really put Fort Pierce on the map and finally get the recognition that our gem of a town and beach area deserves. Stuart already has the masses pouring in - they can't accommodate the masses that Brighline will bring. WE CAN! Fort Pierce has various land and lots that could be made public, and undeveloped areas to add parking and shuttle / Freevee / tram stops for Brightline. Fort Pierce just makes the most sense.


I can appreciate that it is difficult to change the decision now. That there are those who will want to save face, and would consider it somewhat of an embarrassment to change the station decision. However, if Brightline were to announce that “new information has come to light, and we have reopened our investigation into and consideration of the entire scope of the project” – it is understandable and acceptable. “Due to a public outpouring of requests to reconsider, we are extending our review period until XYZ date…”


I’m not slighting Stuart. It’s a great area, and I respect those who DO want the station there. However…there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that down the road, or shall we say, down the tracks, Brightline will regret their decision to choose Stuart. And then, it will be too late. Hindsight is always 20-20. Please, have 20-20 vision right now!  Choose correctly. Choose growth. Choose opportunity. Choose community.  Choose diversity. Choose positivity. Choose humanity. Choose FORT PIERCE.


With the utmost respect and sincerity,


Priscilla Speicher

Fort Lauderdale Resident: 9 years   Delray Beach Resident: 11 years

Stuart Resident: 7 years    Fort Pierce Resident: 20 months

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