Fort Pierce, Florida – In a potential development that has garnered mixed reactions, a house in Fort Pierce, originally built in 1911, may soon find itself surrounded by 288 apartments. The proposed project, led by developer Paul R. Budick, seeks to construct seven three-story apartment buildings on 7075 Indrio Road, encircling the property known as Florindia. The historic significance of Florindia stems from its previous owner, Edwin Binney, the inventor of Crayola crayons and dusk-free chalk. Binney, who passed away in 1934, co-founded the handicrafts company Binney and Smith with his cousin C. Harold Smith.
While the property is not registered as a historical place, concerns have been raised about the potential impact on its integrity. Janie Baugh, who co-owns Florindia, expressed her opposition to the development during a county meeting, emphasizing that it would not only alter the property’s appearance but also compromise the house itself. County records indicate that the proposed project includes amenities such as a clubhouse, guest parking, a community garden, recreational open space, a dog park, and a community pool.
Despite efforts by the developer to maintain architectural uniformity in the area, opposition to the project remains. Dennis Jurkiewicz, another co-owner of the Binney Estate, voiced his skepticism, asserting that he does not see any significant changes to the apartment project and expressing concerns about the preservation of the site’s environment. Environmental issues have previously arisen in the vicinity when Jim Chalmers attempted to create an RV Resort less than a mile from the Binney house. Chalmers faced resistance from the Binney estate during his endeavor, which involved the relocation of natural trees to the property.
Lindsey Libes, the vice president of civil engineering at WGI, who is working as the planner for the developer, indicated that further meetings will be conducted to address the community’s concerns. Libes stated that the project aims to scale back the number of units on the property and emphasized the importance of complementing the adjacent historic property. She expressed confidence that the development will ultimately contribute positively to the growing Indrio Road corridor.
As discussions and deliberations continue, the fate of the proposed development and its potential impact on the historic property in Fort Pierce remain uncertain. The clash between preservation and progress highlights the complex challenges faced by communities seeking to balance growth and heritage in an evolving landscape.