When rail first came to Stuart, life for those barely forging an existence along the St. Lucie River in Stuart and surrounding areas was significantly improved. A stop on the railway brought opportunity; with reliable transportation almost overnight, it was much easier to ship local commodities like pineapples and fish. Shortly after that, the tourist industry blossomed, providing even more opportunities for residents of the Sailfish capital of the world to do business and thrive.
More than a century later, recognizing new opportunities for Martin County residents and businesses, Dan Hudson, BDB Interim Executive Director, on his first day on the job, wrote a letter of support to Brightline for a station in the heart of Stuart. His letter and many others from community leaders were included in the December proposal to Brightline by the City of Stuart and Martin County.
“The City of Stuart has long identified the proposed site as the ideal location for a passenger rail station,” says Michael J. Mortell, Stuart City Manager. “Embracing it’s roots a historic railroad town, Stuart has maintained its commitment to restoring passenger rail, with a downtown Stuart station, throughout its planning history. Since the 1990s, Stuart has demonstrated this commitment in its Comprehensive Plan, explicitly identifying and including the subject site for a rail station and assigning a “Downtown” as the future land use to comply with any zoning regulations necessary for the construction and operation of a passenger rail station.”
The Brightline-Stuart station is perfectly positioned at the midpoint between the Orlando and Miami stations and within Stuart’s long-established and award-winning downtown. Stuart’s allure as a top destination for domestic and international travelers has grown. Visitor data indicates Martin County attracts more than 5.5 million visitors annually. Within Florida, the Stuart area draws 1.1 million visitors annually from South Florida and more than a half-million from the Orlando area. Nearly 700,000 visitors travel to the region annually from outside Florida. The Brightline-Stuart station is a perfect complement to the growing visitor market.