The future of the Pier in St. Petersburg is back in the spotlight following the first of five public meetings Thursday night.
A little more than 40 people gathered at Child's Park Recreation Center. They discussed the types of amenities they want to see in a new Pier.
"It's the people's Pier. It's the waterfront," said Scott Campbell, who grew up in St. Pete. "I hope they restore, and you can drive around there so you can drive out there and go fishing and have a dance hall."
"I also want to see fishing docks down there," added Frederick Winters. "[I want the Pier] to have something that compliments the whole downtown. I don't think that the Pier is going to stand alone.”
Those in attendance included members of a 21-person group constructed by Mayor Rick Kriseman to help determine how the city should spend the $46 million dedicated to the Pier project.
"This is the second bite at the apple," Kriseman said. "I'm really hoping that everyone who wants to weigh in that maybe didn't the first time will go ahead and do it now."
"I would like to see the public to be able to go back to the waterfront over and over and over again," said Jopie Helsen, Chairman of the Tampa Bay Marine Industries Association and member of the Kriseman-appointed Pier group. "There's an opportunity here for the public to express what all their desires are."
Helsen said he didn't feel like the public previously had enough input. That was a major factor behind the failure of the Lens.
"It was an insult," he said, adding that he's hoping to now see progress. "I would like the see the majority of the people in St. Pete say, 'hey, that's our waterfront.'"
Kriseman said he hopes to have a plan in place by the end of the year.
The next four meetings are scheduled as follows:
June 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Coliseum
June 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Roberts Recreation Center
June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lake Vista Recreation Center
July 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the J.W. Cate Recreation Center??
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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