ST. PETERSBURG — Surrounded by members of city council at Spa Beach Park May 1, Mayor Rick Kriseman presented the new plan for the future of the Pier.
[level-active-subscribers]”The Pier represents something special to the people of the Sunshine City. It’s an integral part of our skyline,” he said, with the city’s iconic landmark visible over his shoulder.
He called the plan “fair, transparent and comprehensive” and stressed that the form of the structure, whatever it will be, will follow the function and not the other way around. Kriseman said the project will come to completion by 2017. Though he admitted that this is longer than the timeframe he gave while on the campaign trail, he stressed the importance of getting the job done properly rather than quickly.
“I’d rather get this right than do it fast and risk dividing our community once more,” he stated.
The process will actively seek public engagement by providing city residents with the opportunity to determine what the function of the Pier will be, and to let give citizens over 18 a chance to vote on the Pier design, the mayor said.
After thanking the citizens that were involved in the original Pier process, Kriseman said that he hopes they’ll be engaged again in the new process. He also urged citizens that felt they previously didn’t have an opportunity to voice their opinion or simply failed to get engage initially to get involved this time.
“You’re all being given a second bite at the apple,” he said. “Don’t waste it. Voice your opinion on what you want the Pier to do and what you want it to look like. This will be your last opportunity to help determine the future of the Pier.”
An assembled Pier working group will hold meetings with the community over a three month period to seek its input on the function of the Pier. Kriseman said he hopes 15 or 20 architectural firms will want to bid on the opportunity to present designs; the soon-to-be-named selection committee made up of professionals and members from the marine sciences field will reduce the proposed firms to between five and eight.
“Those designs will be studied for feasibility,” the mayor said, “to make sure they can be built within budget, that they do what the public wanted, that they can be permitted and that there aren’t any features that are being proposed that we simply cannot build.”
Though Kriseman admitted that the existing inverted pyramid design is still on the table, he stressed that the firms can design it any way they want.
“I hope we have a lot of different choices,” he said, and added that the public will get a chance to weigh in by vote and pare down the number of various designs down to three.
“Together I know that we are going to deliver an exciting new Pier that makes our community proud,” Kriseman said. “I am excited about moving forward.”[/level-active-subscribers]