St. Pete voters to decide fate of 'Lens' - WFLA News Channel 8

St. Pete voters to decide fate of 'Lens'

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

Voters in St. Petersburg will decide on August 27th if they want to end an agreement with the designers of the Lens.

After hours of debate Thursday night, the council voted to let the question go through, and altered the wording of the measure to include the word "lens" on the ballot, to avoid confusion.

The leader of a pro-lens group conceded defeat before the vote.

Anthony Sullivan, with WOW St. Pete, said the issue has proved to be very divisive, and polls he commissioned show the Lens is not popular.

"The Lens and the pier is dividing the city, it's become so contentious that it's neighbor versus neighbor," said Sullivan.  "So maybe it is time to hit the pause button and I'm gonna go on the record right now and say, you know, cancel the contract with Michael Maltzen today, now."

Michael Maltzen is architect responsible for the Lens.  The city council voted Thursday not to terminate the contract with him.

Mayor Bill Foster says the people should have the final say.

"It seems like to terminate the contract tonight would literally put both sides in a tizzy, so I would go ahead and put it on the ballot, and include the word 'lens'.  Don't play games," said Mayor Foster.

Canceling the contract is what the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce wanted. Its chairman wanted to start the process over again, and allow other designs to be considered, including the Lens.

There's no timetable for when a new design could be put forward.

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