By Dawn Krebs
FORT PIERCE - Just north of Tickle Tummy Bridge and south of Seaway Drive in downtown Fort Pierce sits the original settlement area Edgartown. And, with a unanimous vote from the Fort Pierce City Commission recently, it will continue to grow and thrive.
"Before there was Fort Pierce, there was Edgartown," said Leslie Olson, historic preservation officer for the city. "It was originally a fishing village."
The almost 8-acre section of about 40 homes and lots has fallen in and out of disrepair over the more than 100 years since it was first established. Recently, though, the city commission took steps to officially make Edgartown a historic settlement.
"I have been working on this for two years with the residents," said Ms. Olson.
"In 2008, the residents attended a waterfront charrette and recommended changes to the zoning code in Edgartown in order to create an urban historic neighborhood."
The new designation includes changing the zoning from R-5, which would allow for building heights of up to 200 feet, and establishes a new zoning district that will allow for mixed-use development, where residents can have an apartment above a store, or have a garage apartment.
More than 20 residents of Edgartown worked closely with Ms. Olson on the project.
"There is more than 500 hours of different input dedicated to this," Ms. Olson said. "I've been on walking tours, talked to residents and compiled data."
Part of the long-range plan also includes upgrading the streets within the development with parking and sidewalks.
The commissioners unanimously approved the ordinance.
"I want to thank the residents for putting the effort into this," said Mayor Bob Benton. "It is nice when government and the public work together for a common goal."
"The citizens, the neighbors and the owners deserve a lot of credit for reclaiming their neighborhood," said Edward Becht, city commissioner.