Early City records show that the land was part of the Pruitt Fish Camp. Then in 1981 the site was approved for residential development (Moonraker Bay PUD). That development program was for a 374 residential unit development. The only construction on the site was the installation of the roads and utility infrastructure.
Late in 2002 the track of land formerly known as the Westmoreland property or the Moonraker Project (anecdotal history with the James Bond movie of the same name) was purchased by the City of Port St. Lucie in joint cooperation with St. Lucie County and with grant funding assistance provided by the Florida Communities Trust Land Conservation Program. As stated in the original management plan the property was purchased to protect an ecologically diverse mosaic of natural plant communities adjacent to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River through the application of management strategies that integrate the restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of the parks natural biological diversity while providing compatible recreation.
In 2005 a plan was conceived to develop a portion of the old Westmoreland property as a botanical garden, utilizing and incorporating the sites natural plant communities as the ecological foundation of the proposed garden. The idea was presented to the Florida Communities Trust Land Conservation Program, a division of the Florida Department of Community Affairs. In November of 2005 the City received word that the possibility of creating a botanical garden appeared to be appropriate to the site.
Soon afterward a conceptual site plan for a botanical garden was developed and re-submitted to the State for approval. In June of 2006 the City was informed its formal request to redesign the property in accordance with the conceptual site plan for a botanical garden was appropriate pending modification of the properties approved management plan. A formal amendment to the management plan was drafted and submitted to the State in December 2006.
In early 2007, the amendment to the management plan was approved and the City’s ability to develop a botanical garden on a portion of the old Westmoreland property was authorized. In 2007 the firm of Lucido & Associates was selected to design the botanical garden in accordance with the approved management plan and keeping in mind the original intention of integrating the restoration, enhancement and maintenance of the parks natural biological diversity. Construction of The Gardens was commenced on March 4, 2009.
The Gardens was constructed utilizing native plant communities as the foundation. Because almost 7 acres were mangrove wetlands along the river, these had to be preserved. Approximately 1.7 miles of sidewalks were constructed offering winding trails through The Gardens showcasing a variety of trees, shrubs, and plants.
The Gardens was funded through the Florida Communities Trust Land Conservation Program, a conservation trust fund that was developed with impact fees from builders and developers within the City of Port St. Lucie. This money can only be used for improving or for the purchase of vacant land. These monies are not ad valorum tax dollars (not from direct personal property or other taxes paid to your local government).
The Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens:
The Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens held its public grand opening on March 6, 2010. The Gardens sit on +/- 20 acres of property on the west side of Westmoreland Boulevard, just south of Port St. Lucie Blvd., conveniently located within the city. The property was acquired through the joint efforts of the City of Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, and the Florida Communities Trust Land Conservation Program.
The site boasts a lake with a fountain, convenient paved paths, beautiful gardens, a pavilion, a gift shop and an array of spaces both inside and out for weddings, meetings, receptions and a host of other events. There is an abundance of convenient on-site parking. The Gardens’ wetlands and mangroves sit on the banks of the beautiful, pristine North Fork of the St. Lucie River. This site is comprised of Scrub, Scrubby Flatwoods, Bay-Gall and Wet Flatwoods, with a mangrove fringe. The 12.87 acres south of The Gardens’ access road will be maintained as undisturbed Florida wetlands, subject only to the removal of exotics and maintenance of an eventual walking trail.
History of The Gardens
Suggested donation of $5 per person is appreciated
See Visitor Info page for donations & directions
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2410 SE Westmoreland Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 • Phone: 772.337.1959 • Fax: 772.237.5952