About Lincoln Park
The Lincoln Park community is located in the city of Fort Pierce, Florida. As the city expanded beyond the original Fort established in 1800’s, a settlement called Edgartown emerged and over time the community developed a bustling commercial district. In the 1920s and ’30s, families and businesses who moved to the area found success along the Avenue D corridor, which soon became the economic heart of the area now known as Lincoln Park. Family-owned businesses such as barber shops, grocery stores, churches, restaurants, and a movie theater became the economic and cultural foundation for a predominantly African-American community. However, due in part to an influx of drugs and businesses leaving the community, Lincoln Park’s economy declined between the 1960s and 1990s.
Lincoln Park is a culturally and historically rich community. It was home to Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. It was also home to the famous Florida Highwaymen artists, a group of 26 African-American self-taught/self-mentoring landscape artists who created a body of work of over 200,000 paintings, despite facing many racial and cultural barriers. The Lincoln Theater is one of only four African-American owned theaters in the country, and Lincoln Park Academy, an academic magnet school, is one of the nation’s top performing schools.
The Lincoln Park community is a 2 1/2 square mile mainly residential area in northwest Fort Pierce. Its population of just under 9,000 is racially made up of 91% African-America, 6% White, 1% Hispanic and 2% other race. Fifty-seven percent of the residents live below the poverty level; the average median household income is $15,797 compared to the St. Lucie County median income of $42,655. Some 26% of residents are uninsured. Other health related issues affecting this community include high black infant mortality rates, increased gun violence and gang-related activity.
Local residents have been instrumental in revitalization efforts, such as streetscape and infrastructure projects, along with the removal of substandard housing units to help encourage businesses to return to the area. There have been fascade improvements completed along the Avenue D corridor; a groundbreaking of a new Intermodal Bus Terminal, and the reopening of Moore’s Creek Linear Park as result of neighborhood cleanup efforts. Today, Moore’s Creek hosts events like Jazz on Moore’s Creek, featuring jazz musicians and Highwaymen artists, now take place.
Lincoln Park’s roots and historical assets help shape the community’s readiness and desire for change. These are among the factors that led Allegany Franciscan Ministries to partner with Lincoln Park on the Common Good Initiative.