Downtown Hobe Sound’s revitalization

Downtown Hobe Sound’s revitalization is one step closer to reality. The initial survey of the property along Bridge Road from the railroad tracks east to US 1 is done, according to Martin County Community Development Director Kevin Freeman. “Now, we need to meet with the stakeholders—the property owners and the business owners—to figure out their particular needs and hear their concerns,” Freeman said.

It accomplishes nothing for a community to make a plan for redevelopment of an area, if its stakeholders are not on board first, he said, and he considers face-to-face meetings key to fostering communication and to formulating a workable plan. “I had hoped that we could sit down together in December,” Freeman added, “but the holidays and people’s plans are getting in the way, so we’ll meet after the first of the year.”

The survey of property is the first step in following up on the Hobe Sound Neighborhood Action Committee’s direction to the county to begin the process for dropping the power lines along Bridge Road. After Freeman meets with the property owners and businesses, he will again meet with the NAC to keep them advised and to get their input. “Community input is vital,” he said, “which is why the Community Redevelopment Agency was created in the first place…to speed implementation of redevelopment plans.”

Hobe Sound developed its plan 10 years ago, according to Mike Ennis, NAC chairman. “We’ve had enough of pretty pictures,” he said at the Nov. 18 NAC meeting. “It’s time to get something done.” The NAC budget for the Bridge Road development exceeds $500,000, of which $103,000 could be lost if not spent within this fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011.