The Lens is in freefall: Chamber of Commerce calls on Mayor Foster to cancel contract with Michael Maltzan

1. Cancel the Lens contract immediately. It's what the referendum calls for and what the petition signers have requested.
2. Start the new process immediately — the current pier is closed and in disrepair — we must continue to move quickly to ensure we don't have a blighted waterfront. We urge the city to conserve all current resources allocated for this project until this process is designed.
3. Allow the current proposed design (lens) to be one of the finalists in the next competition — afterall, we've spent $3 million dollars on a sound design with many supporters — allow this design to compete with the other options created in the new process.
4. Finally, allow the citizens to vote — on a new pier…providing them more than one option…knowing all have been heard, all have had the vote, and at the end, we have something to build.

On Tuesday, St. Pete Polls released a survey showing support for the Lens trailing 63-28 percent, with 10 percent undecided.

Later today the Council is expected to discuss the wording of the ballot language regarding the Lens, such as whether the name "Lens" will actually be part of the 15-word description.

Two days after the latest poll shows a decrease in support for the Lens, the good folks over at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce have seen enough.

Today, Chamber Chair David Punzak wrote a letter to Mayor Bill Foster and the City Council calling on them to cancel the city's contract with Michael Maltzen Architecture, the designers of the Lens (a story first broken by Peter Schorsch on his St.Petersblog website).

A considerable number of St. Pete residents never wanted the inverted pyramid structure to get demolished, and an attempt at a referendum to stop that from happening died out last summer. But another group dedicated to stopping the Lens has been more successful, with a measure going on the Aug. 27 ballot asking citizens whether they want the city to continue with the Lens or start over.

The Chamber members see the writing on the wall, and said the city should start over, beginning now.

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