St Pete mayor unveils roadmap for new pier - WFLA News Channel 8

St Pete mayor unveils roadmap for new pier

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St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman unveils roadmap for the future of the Pier. St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman unveils roadmap for the future of the Pier.
St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman will involve in the community in the future of the Pier. St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman will involve in the community in the future of the Pier.
Mayor Kriseman is assembling a 'working group' that will hold sessions with the public over the next three months. Mayor Kriseman is assembling a 'working group' that will hold sessions with the public over the next three months.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL. (WFLA) -

St Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman unveiled a roadmap for a new pier on Thursday.

There has been a lot of controversy over how to bring the iconic structure into the future.

The city set aside $50 million for a new design called ‘The Lens,’ only to have it shot down by voters last august.

Kriseman hopes this new plan will lead to a finished product.

For more than 40 years now, the inverted pyramid was a St. Petersburg landmark.

But it's in need of a replacement. The city did have plans to start anew with the ‘Lens’ design.

The problem was, a majority of voters hated it, and in August the plans were scrapped.

"Today I am here to present our new plan for the pier,” said Kriseman.

Mayor Rick Kriseman wants to try again.

He will soon assemble a team he dubs 'the working group.'

Kriseman said there will be no elected officials on the group. It will be comprised of professionals and citizens.

“It will include members from the marine sciences field so that we can also take into consideration the impact of sea level rise because this is a structure that’s going to be on our waterfront for a long time,” said Kriseman.

Over a three month period later this year, the group will take feedback from the public.

Then the group will pick around 8 architects and give them stipends to come up with designs.

The public will be allowed to vote for their three favorite designs, and then the working group will determine the winner.

Along the whole way, Kriseman encourages public opinion.

The mayor remarked, "We want to be very clear on what the community would like this structure to do."

But councilman Wengay Newton does not agree with this plan.

"While I respect the mayor essentially for doing what he's doing, it's the same thing. Nothing different!” said Newton.

Newton points out this process is similar to what was done to come up with ‘The Lens.’ He said public opinion was included and multiple sketches were presented.

Newton thinks there should be a city-wide vote, and only after that should the city decide how to move forward.

“We’re elected officials. We’re stewards of the taxpayer resources and assets, we don’t own them. So if we’re talking about doing something with them, or disposing of them, I think the people have a right to vote on that asset," said Newton.

But Kriseman is optimistic that this process will work out and he's hopeful that the new pier will open sometime in 2017.

And he pointed out that the inverted pyramid is not off the table.

“While I personally don’t favor a renovation, I’m just one vote. And my vote won’t have any greater weight as far as what it ultimately looks like than yours will or anybody else in this community,” the Mayor said.

He didn't have a clear answer on the costs of the new project.

The city had set aside $50 million for ‘The Lens’ project, and officials say there is $46 million left in the fund.

The mayor says the city wants to be as economical as it can.

“We’re going to be very clear on the amount of money that we have to spend. This is not going to be built in phases. This is a one phase project,” Kriseman emphasized.

Related Story: St Pete Pier demolition will probably move forward

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