Our Advocacy

The Economic Council researches, monitors and analyzes issues that may impact either our quality of life or the business climate of Martin County and communicate this information to the public and government.
 
Check out the past issues of our Economic Indicator Publications.

Tourism

We applaud Martin County’s Tourism & Marketing Manager Nerissa Okiye for leading the call to action to support tourism and our local economy, even in light of the recent Lake Okeechobee discharges. It was Okiye, speaking with news reporters on the Stuart waterfront at 5:00 a.m., reminding us all of our precious quality of life we need to work together to protect.

 

For the past three years, the Economic Council of Martin County has funded a consistent advocacy effort to demand that State and Federal leaders do their part to fund the approved projects that deliver real solutions. Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Projects (CERP), such as the C-44 water storage and treatment project, must be completed. 

 

So must the numerous Comprehensive Everglades Preservation Projects (CEPP) that will move more water South of Lake Okeechobee, and clean it before sending it the Everglades. We also must demand that the Federal government finish the Herbert Hoover Dike repairs NOW; as well as finding additional options to store and clean more water north of Lake O, since that’s where 95% of the water comes from.

 

A comprehensive and mandatory septic-to-sewer conversion effort and local basin runoff also need to be addressed as a major contributors to river pollution.  Evidence of this was the Health Department’s recent warnings in the South Fork of the St. Lucie River at Leighton Park weeks before any of the discharges began.

 

There are many solutions to this complex issue, and they all need to be resolved.  But as we all advocate for immediate and long-term relief for our river and estuary in our own way, we need to let the world know that we’re still open for business in Martin County. After all, our waterways contribute more than $645 million to our local economy each year.

 

Tourism is a vitally important economic engine for our community, responsible for generating $432 million in revenue for local businesses, and adding $33.5 million to our local tax base. This is revenue we can ill afford to live without.

 

We’re all frustrated with the continued discharges to our already troubled waterways, and we need to continue to push our State and Federal officials to find a solution…and fast. But we can’t turn our back on local businesses while we fight. The Economic Council will continue to stand-up for all businesses in Martin County—large and small—that are being adversely affected.

 

Okiye and her team have created a digital marketing campaign, anchored by a video that features the many reasons why visitors should come here, and why we all live here—our parks and beaches, our arts and cultural offerings, our many attractions and green space; and most of all, our people. Each one of us can help by viewing the video on the County’s website, and then sharing it with others.

 

Instead of scaring the tourists away, why don’t we invite them here to experience why we’re all so passionate about preserving and protecting our Quality of Life in Martin County. Okiye said, “This is about leveraging the power of our collective voice during a crisis.”

 

We owe our local businesses nothing less.

Latest Changes to School Grades won't knock us off course

(January 14, 2016) For the 2014-15 school year, the formula for calculating school grades was changed along with the transition to new state assessments — from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test to Florida Standards Assessment. The results of this change, reflected in simulated scores of A thru F, were released this month by the state Board of Education. For business leaders — where maintaining our future talent pipeline is paramount — we think this is an issue worth understanding and talking about.

In recent years, "success" — a school's grade — has been measured by both proficiency (earning a passing score) and growth (making a year's growth in a year's time) by the Florida Department of Education. The new grading system accounts only for student proficiency and will exclude components of student growth in this transition year. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that our students are the best prepared. The scores do matter, and we believe it's important to note this change is in no way a negative reflection on our schools or our students.

Martin County historically has ranked among the best in the state when considering the growth students make in one year over another, despite students coming to school with varied levels of preparedness. Some Martin schools have as few as 3 percent of students entering kindergarten prepared for core subjects such as math, and as few as 16 percent in literacy, according to the district.

Martin County's demographics have changed dramatically in recent years, with the same percentage of students (49 percent) now eligible for free or reduced meals as the rest of the state. This is up from 29 percent just eight years ago. We're also seeing an increasing number of students who must take these high-stakes tests in a language other than their own home language. This latest change would seem to penalize Title 1 schools that have traditionally over-performed in year-over-year growth.

Educators, teachers, parents and businesses agree on the need for high standards and strong accountability in our school system. School grades are a component of this accountability. A high-performing school system in Martin County has long been a competitive advantage in attracting families and businesses here. When the bar has been raised in the past, our students and teachers have risen to higher expectations The latest grading system won't change this.

In order for us to maintain the quality of life we have all grown accustomed to, we need to maintain the balance of having the best schools, the right jobs, the right tax base and a healthy environment. The performance of our schools affects recruiting and hiring for businesses. In addressing the state Board of Education in October, Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson said, "Nothing matters more to business than talent. We need to ensure that every single child in the talent pipeline is prepared for the workforce of tomorrow".

Based on population growth estimates, Martin County will need to add 3,500 jobs in the next five years — and 9,500 jobs by 2030 — to maintain a 5 percent unemployment rate. Our local businesses, large and small, need a reliable source of future talent to fill job vacancies. Wouldn't it be great if those jobs could be filled by our children educated here in Martin County?

In order to remain competitive, we have to be able to adapt to different tests and grading systems — with an eye toward making the system better and our students better prepared to enter the workforce.

In Martin County, our schools continue to be an asset that we should be proud of. Our district's readiness programs — including prekindergarten, bilingual education and newcomers programs for high schoolers — are among the best in the state. Our schools consistently rank among the highest in the state with a graduation rate of 88.8 percent. We believe learning gains should most certainly be considered part of the grading equation, as they will again next year. Even with the latest changes, the goal remains to grow our students.

Tracey Miller, executive director of Instructional Services for Martin Schools said, "These are still the same amazing schools you had yesterday."

At the Economic Council of Martin County, we believe raising expectations for our students and being honest with parents are essential. We are on a great path here — this most recent change will not take us off that course.

 

Time to get practical about All Aboard Florida

(November 28, 2015) A storm is brewing. With or without All Aboard Florida, the likelihood of increased rail traffic rumbling through our community is real.

Even at current volumes, congestion from rail traffic impacts automobiles, boats and emergency response vehicles, is disruptive to our quality of life and impedes safety efforts.

We applaud the efforts of Treasure Coast counties, citizens groups and neighborhoods who have staunchly opposed All Aboard Florida. The Economic Council of Martin County reaffirms our wholehearted support in this opposition.

Despite the potential economic benefits of expanded passenger rails to communities south of us, this project has, from its inception, offered no benefit to the communities along the Treasure Coast. The negative impacts, however, are many.

Nonetheless, there appears to be little we can do to stop this project from moving forward. And while we don't advocate giving up the fight, we do believe it's time to begin asking for all we can for our community before it's too late. The Economic Council wants to see this happen by expanding the public dialogue with All Aboard Florida, the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Florida Department of Transportation.

The Economic Council of Martin County joins the Martin County Taxpayers Association in its recent challenge to our local governmental leaders to begin planning for this inevitable future now.

Here are our five recommendations to help ensure our safe, convenient and economically-improved future:

1. Engage the Metropolitan Planning Organization and FDOT in open discussion on grade-level improvements (i.e., an overpass or underpass) at the major Monterey Road/Dixie Highway artery in Stuart to relieve traffic congestion and create a viable emergency response option.

2. Evaluate additional structural and mechanical improvements to raise the height of at least a portion of the Old Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart to ensure the long-term safety of the structure, and to allow increased capacity for smaller vessels to pass under the bridge during "down" times.

3. Encourage transparent public dialogue with FDOT with regards to a long-term (20-year) plan to evaluate future freight and passenger service options for an alternative western corridor.

4. Engage the major communities along the Treasure Coast in collaborative discussions to prioritize potential future passenger rail stops — perhaps staggered daily schedules in Stuart and Fort Pierce — which would create new economic development opportunities for our region.

5. Martin County and/or the city of Stuart should now begin conversations with All Aboard Florida with regard to funding quiet zones through the county. A timely petition asking AAF to fund these quiet zones is critical. Once infrastructure construction begins in early 2016, any such improvements will require costly change orders at the taxpayers' expense.

As it relates to the possibility of All Aboard Florida ultimately being halted in the courts, we believe "hope" is no longer a real strategy. By working together right now with the appropriate agencies to protect our quality of life, we may be able to ensure a safe and convenient future for our community.

As we all know, the best preparation for a storm is planning ahead

What I learned when I shadowed an elementary school principal

(October 30, 2015) Ivy Menken was a three-sport athlete at Indiana University but ultimately chose to pursue a master's degree in education leadership. The 754 students at Indiantown's Warfield Elementary School, and countless others in the local community, are glad she did.

Menken came to Warfield as assistant principal in 1999 and became the school's principal in 2012. Since that time, she has created an atmosphere of caring, respect and accountability that is pervasive.

My day shadowing Principal Menken — part of a LEADERship Martin County homework assignment for the Nov. 5 Education Day — started at 6:45 a.m. with the arrival of a small fleet of school buses. Menken is there every morning to greet each child, most by their first name.

"I'm a very hands-on administrator. They need to know I'm here for them, that I'm watching them," she said.

Menken is representative of so many other men and women who have dedicated their lives to the often underappreciated field of public education.

"We're here trying to run a school, to take care of these kids and their families. But we take care of each other, too," she said.

Her day is crammed with on-the-spot executive decisions, formal teacher observations, conferences with parents and hands-on interaction with students in the classroom. She carries no cellphone, has no need for Facebook ("No time for that," she says) but stays in touch with her team via walkie-talkie. She saves the hundreds of daily emails for the evening; report-reading and data analysis for the weekends.

After bus duty, we strolled through the campus where "Cotton-Eye Joe" blared from speakers on a makeshift stage, as music teacher Elliott Harris enthusiastically encouraged the bleary-eyed students to hustle-along to their classrooms. The positive and loving spirit is evident in every member of the Warfield faculty and administration.

Alexis Rooney, a Martin County School District Teacher of the Year nominee, told me: "Nearly every teacher here has to drive at least 25 miles to get here. We're here because we want to be here. I'm here because I want to change the perception from, 'Oh, Warfield' to 'Wow! Warfield.' "

Warfield Elementary is a Title I school — with 100 percent of the student body on free or reduced lunches. The school also feeds 375-400 children breakfast each morning. Menken told me, "We have a whole different view of the immigration issue here. These kids' parents believe in the American Way — they're working hard to make a better life for their children. They're getting up early to work in the fields. They're not standing in line looking for welfare."

Menken devoted her lunch hour to two fourth-grade students who were involved in a name-calling incident earlier in the week. Instead of the more punitive approach, Menken takes the opportunity to teach the students respect and how to value each other's differences.

"I want to teach them how to get over their fears and prejudices. We're teaching them how to get along instead," she said.

The Warfield campus is clean and bright, and the classrooms are equipped with the latest in technology. Every room I visited had an electronic whiteboard and projector and at least four computer work stations. Little more than one-third of the students have Internet in their home, and only about one in four owns a computer or tablet. The instruction is as close to customized to each student's need as you can get — differentiated learning, she called it.

"This is it for these kids. We have to believe that every kid can. They need to see the world beyond Indiantown; have some exposure to what else is out there," Menken told me.

When I asked Menken what I could do to make a difference for Warfield Elementary, she didn't hesitate: "There needs to be an understanding in the community of what it takes to provide an education for our kids. We're trying to cram more and more into a school day. We're teaching academics, teaching them how to behave — we're becoming more the role of a parent than ever before; while their parents are working two and three jobs to make ends meet. We don't want anyone's pity; but we'll take anything you can give to help these kids. Just share our story."

As a representative of LEADERship Martin County and the local business community, that's the least I can do.

A business-minded take on Medicaid expansion

(June 6, 2015) One of the most daunting issues facing Florida businesses is the cost of providing employees and their families with access to health care. Year after year, businesses face a rise in health insurance premiums due in part to the vast amount of uncompensated health care in our state, which totaled nearly $3 billion in 2013.

This can be especially tough on small and underserved businesses, which are critical to our economic success in Martin and St. Lucie counties. That makes the Florida Legislature's special session a pivotal time for businesses.

The Legislature began its special session on June 1 to work out a state budget. At the heart of the matter is how best to address health care for hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents.

Florida is now the third-largest state in the country and has more than 4 million uninsured residents. The Senate has put forth a comprehensive proposal, the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, which would utilize the private insurance market to extend health care coverage to 800,000 Floridians. An estimated 20,000 Treasure Coast residents could benefit.

However, there are very real concerns that without health care extension and the possibility of Low-Income Pool funds from the federal government ending on June 30, many health safety nets such as the HANDS Clinic of St. Lucie County and the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Stuart could either close or have their efforts significantly reduced.

The Senate's plan would ensure individuals do not lose access to critical services. This would provide a more stable, long-term solution and the costs for uncompensated care in our state would be significantly reduced.

It would also provide a new model to replace the Low Income Pool funding, offering a more equitable and sustainable distribution formula for federal funds.

The Treasure Coast was hit particularly hard by the recent recession and is in the process of a strong recovery. However, that recovery could be hampered if health care expansion does not occur.

Currently, Florida businesses and health care systems are forced to cover about $3 billion annually to provide medical care to uninsured residents. These costs are generally shifted to higher fees for insured consumers and higher insurance premiums for employers.

This creates a "hidden tax" on businesses. Estimates show that health care premium rates are increased annually by 8 percent. Providing coverage to more individuals would mean more people are able to pay their medical bills, helping to reduce uncompensated care. It would also improve access to care, which could lead to fewer medical bankruptcies, reduce the number of disability claims and improve the health and well-being of Florida's workforce.

Expanding health care access is good for the business community. That's why nearly 800 Florida businesses, local chambers of commerce and statewide business associations have supported the A Healthy Florida Works Coalition and the Senate's Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange plan.

We appreciate the Senate's commitment to do what is right for our businesses, Florida residents and our economy. The steadfast leadership on this issue of Sens. Joe Negron and Denise Grimsley, along with that of Rep. Larry Lee, has not gone unnoticed.

We are hopeful the Senate, working closely with the state House of Representatives ? including local Reps. Gayle Harrell, MaryLynn Magar, Debbie Mayfield and Cary Pigman ? will find common ground in this special session.

Together they have the capacity to find a workable solution to this critical issue. Now is the time to reach out to our elected officials and let them know we need their leadership to help Florida businesses continue to thrive.

Clearing up our position on our waterways

(May 9, 2015) For more than five weeks, the Economic Council of Martin County has been delivering, via print advertisements and email, an advocacy message and citizen call-to-action in support of our local waterways.

Under the common theme “Let’s finish the job,” our advocacy has reflected the No. 1 recommendation of the University of Florida Water Institute report on reducing freshwater discharges to our local estuaries: “Accelerate funding and completion of approved projects.”

Our message is that our river must have immediate relief — nothing more and nothing less.

The council’s call-to-action has been to encourage Florida legislators to finish the essential water-quality projects that have already been approved; projects that we believe will have the most immediate positive impact in our local basin: the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the Central Everglades Planning Project and Kissimmee River and Herbert Hoover Dike restoration projects. These projects include restoration strategies and address water quality and storage, provide an opportunity to move water south and provide relief to the basins east and west. For more than two years now, the Economic Council’s advocacy has been consistent — finish the job that has been started. Investing in and preserving our local waterways is our No. 1 priority.

Clearly, these projects alone are not a “total solution.” The solution is enormous and complicated and the challenges are many. We understand and agree the ultimate water delivery solution includes expanded water storage and treatment north, south, east and west of Lake Okeechobee — priorities Nos. 2 and 3 in the UF report. Additionally, the Economic Council has consistently supported moving water south through the programs identified in the Central Everglades Planning Project. But our advocacy is focused on doing all we can to ensure that our children and grandchildren may enjoy healthy waters right here in our own backyard.

Our advocacy is to reinforce the path that the state of Florida adopted in 2000 — the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Fifteen years later, with billions of dollars spent by the feds and state, only one of the 68 CERP projects identified to bring relief to the system has been completed — a laboratory to deal with melaleuca eradication, according to the South Florida Water Management District.

As business leaders, we believe these results are unacceptable. We encourage our friends and neighbors to join us in demanding results for our river. Our ability to enlist elevated support from other regions of Florida through the state legislature and Congress will be reflected by how we deal with our own issues here.

And while it may be tempting to modify our message to gain broader acceptance in the market, we believe it’s our responsibility to stand up for our estuary. The Economic Council will continue advocating we finish the job that has been started.

We must do a better job fighting for our river. As the UF report highlights, “To reduce damage to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, freshwater inflow and nutrient loads (i.e. septic) from both Lake Okeechobee and the local basins must be reduced. On average, 70-80 percent of the freshwater discharge and 65-80 percent of the nutrient load to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries originates in the local basins, with the remaining balance contributed from Lake Okeechobee.”

We must demand more of ourselves and for our river. Let’s finish the job … now.

Let's work together to remove harmful nutrients from our waterways

(December 19, 2015) The Economic Council of Martin County hosted a panel discussion this fall on the science and politics of clean water — part of our continuing commitment to educate our members on the topic.

At our Rivers Symposium, we were reminded of the significant impact clean water has on our economy — $639 million — and quality of life.

However, the negative impact that septic systems continue to have on our local basin is of great concern. As business leaders, we will continue to keep the health of our local waterways atop our priority list. We think it's time we follow the science and get to work together as a community in creating a solution.

Cleaning up our own backyard from harmful nutrients is not the only water quality issue facing Martin County. The economic council continues to advocate for completion of the approved and funded Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and Central Everglades Planning Project, and for restoration efforts that impact Lake Okeechobee and the Herbert Hoover Dam.

Stopping the harmful discharges from Lake O must remain a priority as well.

Risks from excessive nutrient loads aren't unique to Martin County. In the 1970s, Tampa Bay was experiencing a similar dilemma from poorly treated sewage, unrestricted dredging and untreated stormwater runoff. The common pollutant: nitrogen.

A "60 Minutes" segment eventually brought national attention to the situation. Citizens there demanded action and 45 government, regulatory and industry entities, along with local residents, collaborated to develop voluntary caps on harmful nitrogen loads from septic tanks, fertilizer and other sources.

Decades later, 90 percent of the nitrogen has been eliminated. Water quality in Tampa Bay has been dramatically improved.

At the Economic Council symposium, panelist Anthony Janicki, a Ph.D. and expert on the Tampa Bay recovery efforts, warned, "If you're going to get things done, you're going to have to work together."

Florida Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers and another symposium panelist, added, "You have to have a shared vision, a common vision, of how to solve these issues. If you disagree on what success is, you'll never get it done."

It's time for us all to admit that we're at least part of our own problem and get to work before it's too late for our lagoon.

Since the 1990s, the county's utilities department has made good progress in reducing the number of septic systems polluting our basin. Recently, Martin County Commissioner Ed Fielding invited residents to join in the conversation on the septic-to-sewer conversion issue.

All parties — government, business and industry leaders, environmental activists and citizens — must work collaboratively to develop a common vision, define a realistic goal and get to work on a long-term solution.

How to fund this effort will be a key issue. County staff has been charged with drafting a mandatory implementation policy for the septic-to-sewer conversion over the next decade. Commissioner Fielding wants to find a way to "level the playing field" for all residents who would be affected — with special consideration for those who have recently installed a new septic system. We applaud this decision and agree we should explore all potential funding options to relieve as much of the burden as possible for taxpayers.

Martin County is fortunate to have a strong track record of support for waterway restoration efforts from Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and Reps. MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta, and Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart. Our best chance to garner their continued support will come if we can put down our swords and speak with one voice on the septic-to-sewer conversion issue.

As South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Vice Chair Kevin Powers said at our Rivers Symposium, "This community is too small, and this issue too big, for us not to work together to solve it."

What are we waiting for?

Responsible solutions to All Aboard Florida problems need to be developed

(December 6, 2014) The Economic Council of Martin County has thoroughly evaluated the All Aboard Florida discussion from both sides of the issue.

While we appreciate the positive impact the project affords the state as a whole, as well as the origination cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando, for Martin County and the Treasure Coast, it would appear we receive all of the negative impact with little, if any, economic benefit.

Most significantly, the increased delays at railway crossings, which will hinder medical emergency first responders, their at-risk patients and the doctors and nurses who care for them, gives us cause for great concern. Additionally, we are greatly concerned about the disruption to marine traffic in our waterways.

And with no planned stop in Downtown Stuart on the horizon, the project offers no tangible economic benefit to our region in the near term. In fact, the AAF plan fails to adequately address the potential loss of 100 or more parking spaces in Downtown Stuart on land the city now leases from Florida East Coast Industries.

Further, the environmental impact statement fails to adequately evaluate (or consider) alternative western route options, which would be significantly less disruptive to our quality of life along the waterfront in Martin County. The report also fails to adequately address the impact to boat traffic and safety in and around the St. Lucie River Bridge in Stuart. And the report ignores the potential delays associated with longer and more frequent stoppages at major rail crossings, which will hinder emergency response, not to mention daily commuter traffic.

AAF says locomotive and passenger cars already are being manufactured and, with construction of shiny new passenger rail stations already underway in the major metropolitan markets in South Florida, it would appear the proverbial 'train has left the station' and is headed our way in early 2017.

But it's not too late to consider smarter, more collaborative options that would help to protect the waterway-based quality of life and commerce the Treasure Coast was built on, while not significantly altering the ultimate goal of transporting passengers (and more importantly, freight) between Miami and Orlando.

Now is the time for state and local government, business leaders, citizens and special interests in the Treasure Coast to come together as one voice at the table with All Aboard Florida, the FEC and FRA in developing responsible solutions to the issues we'll soon be facing, including, most importantly, a more thorough evaluation of the western CSX corridor, infrastructure upgrades to our bridges and roads, the creation of 'quiet zones' at our crossings, the development of alternative traffic route options, public safety enhancements and emergency communications systems.

Ultimately, the Economic Council of Martin County encourages this collaboration in order for the Treasure Coast to be a more effective partner with neighboring communities as part of the jigsaw puzzle that is All Aboard Florida. And if at some point in the future there is to be a true passenger-only rail stop in Downtown Stuart, then the freight trains need to be running out west where the lifestyle of our nearly 140,000 residents is not adversely affected.

All Aboard Florida Position

(December 4, 2014)-The Economic Council of Martin County has thoroughly evaluated the All Aboard Florida (AAF) discussion from both sides of the issue. While we appreciate the positive impact the project affords the State of Florida as a whole, as well as the origination cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando; for Martin County and the Treasure Coast, it would appear that we receive all of the negative impact with little, if any, economic benefit.

Most significantly, the increased delays at railway crossings which will hinder medical emergency first responders, their at-risk patients, and the doctors and nurses who care for them, gives us cause for great concern. Additionally, we are greatly concerned about the disruption to marine traffic in our waterways. And with no planned stop in Downtown Stuart on the horizon, the project offers no tangible economic benefit to our region in the near term. In fact, the AAF plan fails to adequately address the potential loss of 100 or more parking spaces in Downtown Stuart on land the city now leases from Florida East Coast Industries.

Further, the environmental impact statement fails to adequately evaluate (or consider) alternative western route options which would be significantly less disruptive to our quality of life along the waterfront in Martin County. The report also fails to adequately address the impact to boat traffic and safety in and around the St. Lucie River Bridge in Stuart. And the report ignores the potential delays associated with longer and more frequent stoppages at major rail crossings which will hinder emergency response and hurricane evacuation, not to mention daily commuter traffic.     

AAF says that locomotive and passenger cars are already being manufactured, and with construction of shiny new passenger rail stations already underway in the major metropolitan markets in South Florida; it would appear that the proverbial ‘train has left the station’ and is headed our way in early 2017. But it’s not too late to consider smarter, more collaborative options which would help to protect the waterway-based quality of life and commerce that the Treasure Coast was built on; while not significantly altering the ultimate goal of transporting passengers (and more importantly, freight) between Miami and Orlando.   

Now is the time for State and local government, business leaders, citizens and special interests in the Treasure Coast to come together as one voice at the table with All Aboard Florida, the FEC and FRA in developing responsible solutions to the issues we’ll soon be facing—including, most importantly, a more thorough evaluation of the western CSX corridor, infrastructure upgrades to our bridges and roads, the creation of ‘quiet  zones’ at our crossings, the development of alternative traffic route options, public safety enhancements and an emergency communications systems.

Ultimately, the Economic Council of Martin County encourages this collaboration in order for the Treasure Coast to be a more effective partner with neighboring communities as part of the jigsaw puzzle that is All Aboard Florida. And if at some point in the future, there is to be a true passenger-only rail stop in Downtown Stuart, then the freight trains need to be running out west where the  lifestyle of our nearly 140,000 residents is not adversely affected.  

Spotlights

Let's Finish the Job

Our Recent Media

Practical Solutions to the Water Quality Crisis