Group that fought the Lens urges public scrutiny of Pier designs

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click to enlarge Prospect Pier is one of the design concepts being proposed by the pier. - FR-EE
Prospect Pier is one of the design concepts being proposed by the pier.

As you may or may not know, a non-binding poll is underway that allows St. Pete residents (registered voters anyone over 18, anyway*), to weigh in on which of the seven design proposals should be chosen to replace the St. Petersburg Pier.

Each of the designs was put together by a different collection of architectural firms, landscape designs and others and intended as an iconic monument on the downtown waterfront, sort of like the inverted pyramid was supposed to be, and Million Dollar Pier was before that.

Aiming to avoid the, er, debacle that culminated in voters' rejection of the Lens Pier design in 2013, Mayor Rick Kriseman spearheaded a process that started with a round of meetings that gleaned gobs of public input on what purpose the new design should serve — what amenities it should have, essentially.

The city's Pier Task Force whittled a list of essential amenities (presumably leaving out suggestions like a cat spa and crucifixes over every doorway). Requirements include dining offered at multiple price points, fishing, an air-conditioned structure and accessibility regardless of one's fitness level.

The public vote on the resulting designs started Monday, and goes through midnight March 6.

The anti-Lens group known as Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, which uses the slogan "St. Petersburg can do better," released a statement Wednesday urging residents to adhere to the "form follows function" mantra that's so far guided the process, warning that some designs don't follow the city's guidelines.

"In reviewing the proposals, we note that despite the hard work that has been done by so many, the Teams vary widely in whether they include the functions desired," the press release states. "A few accommodated nearly every desired function, while others have ignored most, including the most important. This gives us some angst regarding the non-binding vote that has begun."

The group urged against picking a design just because it's pretty.

"Aesthetics are important, but they are only one part of what it will take to have a successful Pier," the release said.

The voting process has not been without a "glitch."

On Monday, the first day of voting, one of the designs, Destination St. Pete Pier, was shown as having a waterfall. But since that feature doesn't fall within the $33 million budget that would be allotted for construction, it should have been left off. That rendering that includes the waterfall has since been taken down.

"What people have been seeing when they have been voting is not an accurate depiction of one of the plans," Lorraine Margeson, who opposed the Lens and now supports the Prospect Pier design (shown at the top of this post), told the Tampa Bay Times. "People should know what they are voting for in truth."

click to enlarge Destination St. Pete Pier. See? No waterfall. - St. Pete design group
St. Pete design group
Destination St. Pete Pier. See? No waterfall.
You can find the proposals and a link to the survey here.

*In an early version of this post we said registered voters over 18 could weigh in. A reader pointed out that any St. Petersburg resident over 18 can vote on the designs.

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