St. Pete to put Pier plan to voters - FOX 13 News

St. Pete to put Pier plan to voters

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Every citizen in St Petersburg will have the chance to voice their opinion on the future of the Pier this November when the issue is put on the ballot. However there's a catch -- It's a non-binding vote.

City Council can still decide to do whatever it wants after the election, and exactly what the issue will look like on the ballot remains to be seen.

That didn't seem to diminish the victory to those who have been fighting for the vote celebrated on Thursday.

"After 20,597 petitions, the people of St. Petersburg will get a chance to vote," said council member Wengay Newton. Could it live on? Or will the shiny new Lens design take over its iconic space along the waterfront?

After years of planning, it's official. City Council is calling for public vote, but since it's a non-binding vote, some believe it wont make much difference.

"The only difference today than two weeks ago is that Tom Lambdon and a few others walked in with signatures. Nothing else has changed," said Mayor Bill Foster.

The group behind saving it collected well over the necessary 15,652 petition signatures needed to qualify for a ballot referendum in November.

Council members passed the referendum with a five-to-three vote. The council will have to iron out the language. Basically, there will be a question, or perhaps multiple questions, asked on the ballot about possibilities for the Pier.

"I suspect it to be some dollar amounts, and not supporting the actual pier that we have. There's a lot of sentiment about that. But either way people will get a vote," Newton said.

It's a win for folks who believe, with a little work, the current Pier will be just fine heading into the future.

"I don't think they should pull the Pier down at all. I think they should go ahead and do what repair they got to do and save the Pier," said Gerard Stevens.

Some say the victory in putting the issue to a vote is more about being heard than preservation.

"This has all been about the vote. People say 'Save the Pier' and that it's a landmark. I know that it can be preserved and completely renewed within budget, but I'm not trying to sell any agenda here. I am so happy that it's going to go on the ballot," explained Tom Lambdon, who organized the petition.

The issue will be on the ballot this November. The exact wording of the issue will be hashed out between now and August 2.

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