As Pier closes, campaigns begin for its replacement - FOX 13 News

As Pier closes, campaigns begin for its replacement

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Friday morning, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections confirmed more than enough signatures had been verified for an August referendum on the Lens.

But now there's a fight over ballot language.

A group calling themselves Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg has collected enough signatures of registered voters to possibly "Stop the Lens."

They can recite a myriad of objections to the looping walkways leading to a towering crown. But at the top of the list: no solo singers when St. Pete's waterfront warrants a choir.

"We think that the next 50 years needs to be guided by a good master plan for the waterfront," said Fred Whaley, with Stop the Lens.

But there is a hiccup: while the petitions referred to the Lens, the words voters will see on the ballot only refer to terminating the contract with the architect.

That might change.

"If we don't tell the voters what the project is, that's purposeful deception as far as I'm concerned," said St. Petersburg City Council Chairman Karl Nurse.

The vote is in late August, giving the so-called "stoppers" three months to tell voters if they want to stop the Lens by terminating Michael Maltzan's contract.

The stoppers say they plan a political campaign for the referendum. So does another group that really wants the Lens.

It will all be part of this summer's political scene.

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