Ted Astolfi and Sustainability in Martin County


Ted Astolfi has a long history of planning and policy making for Martin County. He first became involved with the Economic Council of Martin County in 1991 when an economic growth plan called the Economic Element was incorporated into the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.

Astolfi, 54, was tasked with creating the Business Development Board, which formally separated from the Economic Council in 1993 with Astolfi as executive director. He served in this role until moving on to pursue other projects in 2006—with no inkling that his career path would come full circle 10 years later.

“I saw one of the members of the Economic Council at lunch. We were talking, and he said they’re parting ways with their CEO, and asked, would I be interested?” explains the Stuart resident. Given his connection and experience filling in for executive positions, he said yes.

He stepped in as interim CEO in July 2016. But by October of that year, the board of directors knew they had found the right person for the job.

It’s all about balancing the sustainability, growth and quality of community—and making the big-picture decisions that affect the long-term vision for all of Martin County.

What are the primary initiatives the Council hopes to accomplish?

When I came to the Council in 2016, we reworked the mission, vision and purpose statement to include sustainability. The primary mission now is to ensure Martin County is a sustainable, quality community.

Can you explain the four systems of sustainability?

When I talk about sustainability, I try to explain to people that there are really four integrative systems. We live in an economic environment, and we all understand the need for economics. There is also a natural environment that was here before we got here. And there’s a built environment that we as humans create to live and work in. The last one is the social environment, and that’s what makes us up as human beings. You can never really affect any of those environments without having some effect on at least one and usually all of the others.

What is your position on economic growth and the river crisis in Martin County?

My focus is driven by the economic piece. Without a healthy economy, you’ll never have a healthy river. If you want to protect property you have to buy it, and will take large amounts of money to build projects to improve water quality. Our natural environment depends on a healthy economic environment to be able to fund those projects.

What is quality of community?

It’s having available all the factors that contribute to quality of life, which is very subjective, at a high  level of services that creates a high level quality of community. And that’s what we’re striving for.

How do you create that?

It’s creating a sense of place. When you arrive downtown, and you can park your car and shop and eat and drink, you feel like you’ve arrived to a small community.

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