Timing of Pier and downtown master plans called into question - FOX 13 News

Timing of Pier and downtown master plans called into question

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's Pier Working Group has added "qualitative elements" to the wish list for a new or refurbished downtown Pier.

Last week, after gathering public input, the group produced a list of desired activities, including dining, observation areas and biking and pedestrian amenities.

Tuesday, it adopted a list of desired attributes.

"Things like using solar energy, making sure the building is a green building, ensuring that there's open and flexible community space," chairman Peter Clark explained.

Shade and air conditioning are other highlights, but there’s a warning: The Pier working group's final report will be finished just as public input begins on a downtown waterfront master plan.

"In some people's minds, there's a risk that we may make a decision on the Pier first that then comes in direct conflict with the waterfront master plan later on," Ross Preville said. Preville chairs a Chamber of Commerce downtown waterfront task force, which also met Tuesday and sounded a warning very similar to the working group's.

"Should we be considering the entire waterfront, either before or as we make decisions about what's going to be happening with the Pier?" Preville queried.

The possible collision point is not the structure out on Tampa Bay, but the park land leading to the Pier. That acreage is called the "uplands,” and is currently largely covered with surface parking.

Previous Pier concepts envisioned other activities, such as a splash park or skateboard facility.

"I believe that there is a feeling that the uplands is underutilized," Preville said, and Clark said his group shares that opinion.

"We look at it as the parking and staging area to get out to the Pier," Clark said. "But potentially there's so much more opportunity along the approach to the Pier that could be used in the future."

A spokesman for Mayor Kriseman said the administration is aware of the situation, and pointed out the same city employees are working with both groups. In theory, that will prevent any conflicting proposals for the same land, although the Pier process will remain months ahead of the waterfront master plan process.

 

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