2002 to 2010 PORT ST LUCIE CITY COUNCILMAN CHRISTOPHER S COOPER
A Columbus, Ohio native, Christopher Cooper came to Port St. Lucie in 1993, relocating from Plantation, Florida. He was elected to a four-year term in November 2002 and was reelected without opposition in November 2006. He represented the city for seven years on the Harbor Port Authority and eight years on the city's Community Redevelopment Agency.
As Councilman, he served as a commissioner from 2002 to 2010 on the St. Lucie County Fire District Board where he sat as the Vice-Chairman in 2007 and as the Chairman in 2008. He also served as a member of the Transportation Planning Organization for the Port St. Lucie Urban Service Area and as an alternate liaison to the Martin County Metropolitan Planning Organization. Previously, he served as a member of the Florida League of Cities’ Criminal Justice Policy Committee for three years.
Councilman Cooper was a mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, where he worked with young boys at Windmill Point Elementary School. He has also been a mentor to young referees at the Mako Soccer Club, and served as the club's president, treasurer, director of referees and as a soccer coach. Along with the support of the city's Mayor and fellow council members, he was instrumental in the expansion of the McChesney Park Soccer Facility. The complex now hosts major tournaments and can be arranged into different sized fields to accommodate all age groups. It is without a doubt the finest soccer facility on the Treasure Coast. Chris was a co-founder of the club's soccer scholarship program. The Mako Soccer Club works with more than 800 young men and women in Port St. Lucie.
Cooper was the founder, and Life Time Member, of The Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens and the first President of the organization. A member of the Port St. Lucie Elks Lodge #2658, The German American Club of the Treasure Coast and a past member of the Downtown Lions Club. He was instrumental in establishing the city's annual Oktoberfest, and he credits the German American Club for being a terrific partner in making this event a huge success.
He championed a 19.71-acre botanical garden project working with the cities Parks & Recreation Staff and the Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were built using Conservation Trust Fund money from developers. No taxpayer money was used to construct the facility. The property is located off Westmoreland and Port St. Lucie Boulevards. The groundbreaking for this facility was held March 4, 2009 and the grand opening was held March 6, 2010. His interest in landscaping motivated him to work toward creating a beautiful park setting on the St. Lucie River, where people can enjoy the beautiful outdoors, as well as participate in the project as volunteers. His certification in landscape design was useful in establishing a vision for the project.
Professionally, Cooper worked as a Driver Engineer with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue for 28 years, where he began his career in April of 1987. He has been a member of the International Association of Firefighters for 28 years, and has earned numerous commendations and citations for his efforts, including the Distinguished Service Cross for helping contain the 1999 wildfires that ravaged western Port St. Lucie. Christopher was awarded Firefighter of the Year and Emergency Medical Technician of the Year. He also was a certified process server for the 19th Judicial Circuit.
Recognizing the need for high paying jobs in the city, Councilman Cooper supported efforts that have successfully attracted biomedical research jobs and will provide a community where our children will return after completing college. Torrey Pines was the first Bio-Tech Institute to break ground in the Tradition Development. Indian River State College, and other learning institutes, have taken action to provide qualified applicants for these types of careers. Vaccine Gene Therapy Institute approached the City Council at the March 8, 2010 meeting for support of their new facility that broke ground in October of 2010. V.G.T.I. has made significant advances in AIDS Research and Cancer Research. Other bio-tech companies are predicted to follow in their foot steps to build facilities in the Tradition Business Complex. Martin Health Systems was granted permission to begin construction of their new facility on October 26, 2010 by the state of Florida as a result of the Certificate of Need Process. They intend to build a large hospital as part of this state of the art medical complex that is attracting national attention. Cooper was the only Council Member subpoenaed to testify on behalf of the need for the construction of this new hospital facility.
Other issues of importance to him are the improvement of roads and bridges, the timely completion of the Crosstown Parkway, the continued focus on parks and recreational activities, improved police and fire protection, and better preparedness for hurricanes and other natural disasters. Essential governmental services for the public are a priority for Christopher, as are the success of the downtown concept in the CRA and the Riverwalk projects.
His wife of 31years, Ruth, is a fitness instructor and Master Personal Trainer for the YMCA of the Treasure Coast. They have two sons; Brian, 27, graduated from Centennial High School. Brian was a member of the St. Lucie County Fire Rescue Explorers Program. Brian has been employed with UPS for the past ten years. He previously played soccer for the Mako Soccer Club for 12 years and was a USSF grade 8 referee for several years. Jeffrey, 24, graduated from Lincoln Academy. He attended both the Port St Lucie Police Junior Explorers Program and the Advanced Explorers Program. Jeffrey currently works for UPS. Christopher sat on the school advisory committee for the Treasure Coast High School and Centennial High School.