The first time I saw Fort Pierce, I was struck with how beautiful its palm trees were and how clean the streets looked. My immediate second impression was how empty those streets were. As we drove towards our vacation destination on North Hutchinsin Island, I could see blocks of empty storefronts and I realized that we were in yet, another forlorned town. My husband and I had owned a second home in Milford, Delaware, just off RT 1 and about a half an hour from the Delaware beaches. We liked it because it was close to the shore, but not as busy as Rehoboth or Lewes. But Milford, too, has experienced a loss of business, empty stores and empty streets.
But this is Florida, warm and sunny. Fort Pierce is a sweet little town on the Treasure Coast. Where have all the people gone? To the north is Vero Beach teeming with tourists and stores, opened for business. To the south is Port St. Lucie, with large malls and customers. And then there is Fort Pierce with its beautiful renovated downtown area and, except for Saturday,when the farmers' market is here, its near empty streets and empty stores. Its a mystery and the town officials are trying to solve it. There have been setbacks, hurricanes, that have destroyed some of their palm trees, which they have replanted. There has been loss of businesses and large unemployment numbers. Foreclosures have hit the realty business all up and down the Treasure Coast, but the town officials keep coming up with suggestions to bring Fort Pierce back to life.
In the meantime, keeping up appearances, by replanting those lost palm trees and maintaining clean streets may eventually help to keep Fort Pierce alive.