Port St. Lucie earns high awards, honors and rankings
BY SUSAN BURGESS
Awards and rankings for the City of Port St. Lucie continue to roll in. The city is amassing a treasure chest full of regional, state and national awards and honors for its efforts to become the best in the state and nation at taking care of its citizens.
Since last November, 48 awards have come the city’s way. The 13 most recent since our fall issue were awarded between September and November.
27th Safest City in Florida — Of 134 cities ranked by BackgroundChecks.org, Port St. Lucie was number 27 due to its low violent crime rate, low property crime rate and number of law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents. The website used FBI data to create its rankings.
National 2019 Voice of the People — For its efforts to engage its citizens and give them a voice when planning for the city’s future, the city was awarded this national honor. It was presented jointly by the National Research Center Inc. and the International City/County Management Association. The award is given to top performing governments that best listen and act for the benefit of their communities.
Best in Health Innovation and Best of the Best in Innovation — The National Recreation and Park Association honored the city with these two very competitive awards. To win Best of the Best, the pinnacle award, the city went up against three other cities, each of which won an award in their categories.
Law Enforcement Officer of the Month — Officer Michael Casey, a school resource officer with Port St. Lucie Police Department, was named as iHeart Media’s law enforcement officer of the month for August. He has three years under his belt as a school resource officer, works extensively with Explorer Post 411 — a program for young adults interested in law enforcement careers, has raised more than $20,000 for the Explorers, has intercepted a student with a gun in his backpack, and has taught fellow officers procedures for active threats in schools.
Police Officer of the Year — The St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce presented the honor to Master Officer Scott Marreel at the recent Business and Industry Awards ceremony. He has been with the Port St. Lucie Police Department for more than 20 years, is a part of the Neighborhood Policing Bureau and is both a uniform crime scene investigator and a field training officer.
Top 15 Florida Cities Where People from Around the Country are Moving — Business Insider created a list of places in Florida that have attracted the most newcomers. They used U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010 to 2018 to look at Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
Fifth Best Place to Retire in 2020 — U.S. News & World Report named Port St. Lucie 5th out of 125 of the nation’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The decision was based on how well the city meets Americans’ expectations for retirement, including housing affordability, desirability, healthcare and overall happiness. This is the first time Port St. Lucie moved into the top five, partly thanks to its retiree tax policy.
Second Safest City in Florida with Population over 50,000 — The Home Security Advisor, a home security review website, acknowledges that some of the largest cities in Florida have done a great job keeping their streets safe. The website used FBI crime data. Number one on the list was Weston.
10th of Cheapest Cities Where Everyone Wants to Live — Financial news and opinion website 24/7 Wall St. identified 50 affordable Metropolitan Statistical Areas using U.S. Census Bureau data and information from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicating where the overall cost of living is lower than the national average and housing costs are more in line with incomes.
15th of Florida’s Top 50 Safest Cities — Security Baron, a consumer website focused on security, used data from FBI crime reports on violent and property crimes to give Port St. Lucie a safety score of 83.7 out of 100. At the top of the list is Marco Island with a safety score of 87.5.
2019 Best Place to Work — The City of Port St. Lucie was one of 15 employers in St. Lucie County named as a best place to work by the St. Lucie County Human Resource Association. The award is based on turnover rates, growth percentages, employee development spending, promotion percentages, insurance packages, retirement plans and more.
Best Place to Live in Florida to Pay Off Debt — Port St. Lucie was named by personal finance website JackieBeck.com as the best place to live in this state if you want to become debt-free. The honor was based on housing cost, income, unemployment status and means of transportation to work. The ranking is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 5-year American Community Survey.
Second Most Dynamic Small City in the U.S. — Real estate website Point2Homes.com used 18 factors to rate cities representing the best mix of education and training, business opportunities and technological advances. Port Saint Lucie came in as a leader for its number of people working in arts and entertainment, increase in the share of people with higher education, decrease in unemployment and decrease in people below the poverty level.
Fifth Least Sinful City in the Nation — WalletHub, a credit report and financial advice website, ranked 182 cities for “sinfulness.” The rankings were based on 39 data metrics corresponding to the historical “seven deadly sins.” For example, violent crime was one of several metrics used to measure “Anger & Hatred,” theft for “Jealousy” and beauty salons per capita for “Vanity.” The most sinful city was determined to be Las Vegas. The least was Pearl City, Hawaii.
Sixth Fastest-growing City in the U.S. — After ranking cities by percentage population change from 2000 to 2018 using U.S. Census Bureau data, 24/7 Wall St. placed Port St. Lucie in sixth place. Between those years the population grew by 101.4 percent, from 88,769 to 178,778. The website noted that the cost of living is relatively low at 3 percent less than the national average.