Great holiday gift idea from Florida Trend!
Florida Trend
Get FREE Business News Updates


November 25, 2015


Economic Reconstruction in St. Marks

Charlotte Crane | 1/1/2009
Downtown St. Marks
Downtown St. Marks is on the banks of two rivers.

For decades last century, the city of St. Marks in Wakulla County thrived as a petroleum port and storage center. But when pipelines began replacing boat transport, the town’s core industry and jobs declined. Since 1970, the city’s population has fallen nearly 15% to 315 — a trend rare among Florida waterfront communities — and business and city leaders have begun mobilizing to reconstruct the town’s economy.

“I don’t want to see St. Marks die,’’ says Billy Bishop, chairman of the 15-member St. Marks Waterfronts Florida committee, a partner with the Department of Community Affairs’ waterfronts revitalization program. “That’s the direction we’ve been going.’’

Plans drafted by Bishop’s committee call for a public waterfront plaza. Consultants URS and Lambert & Associates recently said a $35-million conference center/hotel would be feasible. Members have created landmark signage and marketing materials to emphasize St. Marks’ historic and environmental assets: A heritage of Spanish explorers, pirates and pioneers dating to 1527, a downtown location banked by two rivers, and habitat for alligators, manatees and porpoises.

The city, meanwhile, has created a Community Redevelopment District, is amending its comprehensive plan and is pursuing funding for infrastructure and industrial site cleanup.

But the economic plunge has put the city’s first proposed downtown development, a 128-unit condo, on hold. “The economy,” says developer Danny Miller of Tallahassee, “has affected everything.’’

Nonetheless, waterfronts committee member Mike Pruitt is confident the city can find a financial partner for the conference center project. “Companies interested in developing,” he says, “are very farsighted.’’

St. Marks boardwalk
A new boardwalk winds over the water.

Tags: Housing/Construction, Northwest

Digital Access

Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.


Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Blue Origin launches, lands New Shepard rocket booster
Blue Origin launches, lands New Shepard rocket booster

Blue Origin completed a test flight this week that successfully launched a vehicle to space and landed the rocket booster. 

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Which political party do you identify with?

  • Democrat
  • Republican
  • Independent
  • Libertarian
  • No Party Affiliation

See Results

Ballot Box