Mayor: the 'last opportunity' coming for input on the Pier - FOX 13 News

Mayor: the 'last opportunity' coming for input on the Pier

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Ten years after irreversible structural deterioration was identified in portions of the St. Petersburg Pier, another attempt to build a replacement started Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Rick Kriseman appointed a 17-member "working group" and gave it three months to produce a list of desired functions.

"We're not interested at this point in time in what it's going to look like," Kriseman told a news conference. "We want to be very clear on what the community wants the Pier to do."

That function-before-form approach satisfies Bud Risser, who played a large role in a grassroots revolt against the last Pier plan.

As a city hall led by former mayor Bill Foster pursued an "iconic" design called The Lens, Risser and others formed a group called Stop The Lens, which successfully gathered enough voter signatures to force a referendum on terminating the architectural contract.

"This will be your last opportunity to help determine the future of the Pier..."
-St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman

"If we get the functions right, people are going to like the Pier, whatever it looks like," Risser told FOX 13 News. "I'm sure the architects will do a good job, they'll make it pretty, but what people really want to know is, can I do what I want to do out there?"

Mayor Kriseman wants his working group to get public input on desired functions. That information will be used when design concepts are solicited. Once those concepts are vetted by the city, Kriseman hopes there are between five and eight options for voters to consider.

He envisions a non-binding public vote to select the top three concepts, all of which presumably provide the desired functionality.

Kriseman challenged residents to get involved.

"Voice your opinion on what you want the Pier to do, and on what you want it to look like," Kriseman said. "This will be your last opportunity to help determine the future of the Pier, as we will go forward and build a new or renovated Pier."

That assertion presumes no further discord. FOX 13 News has learned one group is already considering yet another petition drive, this one challenging any development on the parkland leading up to the Pier.

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