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Dozens surprised to find Pier closed

On Saturday, a “pier closed” sign greets people who came to downtown St. Petersburg a day too late to go inside. A fence is being installed.

DIRK SHADD | Times

On Saturday, a “pier closed” sign greets people who came to downtown St. Petersburg a day too late to go inside. A fence is being installed.

ST. PETERSBURG — The man in the green tank top and camouflaged Budweiser baseball cap parked his pickup and walked over to the St. Petersburg police officer.

"I take it we're a day late?" asked Paul Gunnoe, 53, of West Virginia.

Nearby, a black electronic sign, about half the size of a billboard, flashed a message in bright yellow lights: "PIER CLOSED."

The officer had heard different versions of that same question all day. Dozens of people, by car, bicycle or dog walk, had come to the Pier's approach on Saturday only to learn that they were a day late for the funeral.

Most were tourists. A few, somehow, were locals.

Gunnoe and his wife, Anita, 45, had come to Tampa for their 27th wedding anniversary. They drove to St. Petersburg for the day just to visit the Pier. When asked what she thought of the 40-year-old inverted pyramid, Mrs. Gunnoe looked out at it from a distance and crinkled her nose.

"I think," she said, "it's kind of interesting."

The Pier is scheduled to be demolished in September.

Dozens surprised to find Pier closed 06/01/13 [Last modified: Saturday, June 1, 2013 9:30pm]
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