By: Joe Catrambone, Stuart-Martin Chamber of Commerce
While our estuary and waterways are under attack from the billions of gallons of releases from Lake Okeechobee, we continue to be concerned about the conditions it’s created for us on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Our naturally beautiful and pristine landscape has, at times, been turned into an ugly mass of blue-green growth, restricting most water-related activities for our citizens. Certainly it has affected many of us that enjoy fishing, paddle boarding, diving and even bathing in the waters surrounding our community. We have been inundated with negative publicity from coast to coast, receiving calls from many newspapers asking “are your beaches really closed?” or “do your residents have to wear respirators/masks to avoid toxic fumes,” “have all of your winter residents cancelled their reservations for the winter months?”
In spite of hardships, the treasure coast is still strong, beautiful and prosperous. Our hotels have experienced a bit of a setback, however reservations for our November – April season remain strong as do our seasonal condo rentals- our realtors tell us we are booked for the season.
Our community is diversified and offers many non-water related activities. Business in general remains robust, nothing more than a normal drop-off during our summer months. We are a golfer’s paradise, home of more than 35 golf courses. Palm City and western Martin County house an enormous equestrian experience with pristine trails to enjoy. Downtown Stuart is a mecca for fine dining and one of a kind shopping all in walking distance of each other. We have museums, art galleries and theaters for enjoyment of all ages.
When blue-green algae impacts our waterways, yes, we feel it. However, we have not shut and locked the doors, we remain open for business!
By building a community that is diverse and rich in all that Florida has to offer, Stuart-Martin County is proving that Florida really is the best place to visit, live, work and play.
Joe Catrambone is the President and CEO of the Stuart-Martin Chamber of Commerce.