Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Foster unveils a new Pier plan to an unimpressed St. Pete City Council

Mayor Bill Foster set out the plan weeks before the election.

Mayor Bill Foster set out the plan weeks before the election.

ST. PETERSBURG — A couple of weeks before a tight race for re-election, Mayor Bill Foster chose Thursday's City Council meeting to announce a new approach for a key issue that has bedeviled his administration.

His blueprint for proceeding with a new pier focuses on a three-pronged strategy:

• Gauging residents' opinions about what they want at the pier. An initial poll is to be done in two weeks, followed by continued public input.

• Melding residents' demands with suggestions outlined in the years-old Pier Advisory Task Force report, the 828 Alliance that Foster created to move the pier project forward, and the upcoming Urban Land Institute waterfront report.

• Inviting architects to translate all of this into a new design.

Foster promised a new pier by the spring or summer of 2017.

"We are moving forward, and we will build a new pier," he said.

Council members were not impressed.

"It's deja vu all over again," said council member Jeff Danner, quoting that well-known philosopher Yogi Berra. Residents were heard before, he said of the plan to involve them throughout the new process.

"I don't know how many more public meetings you can have. This is the same thing all over again."

Council member Wengay Newton made a motion to hold a special election to find out whether residents want to save the closed inverted pyramid. No one seconded the motion.

Foster turned to the local architectural community to come up with his plan, specifically to the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The organization, president Kim Headland said in a letter to Foster, "is strongly advocating for a clear, transparent and inclusive design selection process moving forward."

Chris Ballestra, the city's managing director of development, said public input would let prospective designers "know where we're heading."

About five to 10 designers, short listed by a selection committee that will include about seven local members, will be asked to submit several concepts. The emphasis will be on the function of the new pier, Ballestra said.

The upcoming survey, which Foster said will cost less than $20,000, will pose as many as 20 questions. They will include at least one about renovating the 1973 inverted pyramid, with costs to do so being mentioned.

Foster said it would cost about $70 million to $80 million to refurbish the structure the way it is now. Of the original $50 million budget for a new pier, $46 million remains after the recently failed process to build an unpopular design called the Lens. Many residents said it did not offer the features they wanted.

This is the mayor's second attempt to end the stalemate that has bogged down the pier, a century-old tradition on the city's waterfront.

Meanwhile, the inverted pyramid, which was closed in May, is still costing taxpayers money. The estimated monthly cost to keep the pier approach open and maintain limited systems in the building is about $30,000, said David Metz, the city's director of downtown enterprise facilities. The cost includes utilities, 24-hour security and maintenance.

Foster says the city is saving $100,000 a month with it closed.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283.

Foster unveils a new Pier plan to an unimpressed St. Pete City Council 10/17/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 12:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.