Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

Group completes first phase of Mayor Rick Kriseman's new Pier process

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ST. PETERSBURG — The group appointed to determine what residents want as the city reboots its effort to redevelop the Pier completed its assignment Tuesday.

A final report will suggest a list of amenities hundreds of people who participated in five recent public-input sessions and an online survey consider essential. It also will include elements that have been part of the long-running process to build anew or refurbish the shuttered inverted pyramid.

The Pier Working Group's recommendations will be an important point of reference as the city prepares to let design teams know what the public is demanding of St. Petersburg's waterfront landmark.

Chairman Peter Clarke said he was pleased with the outcome.

"I feel confident in the results of the working group, because in many, many cases, they reflected the opinion surveys that had been conducted in the past and it's very important that we verify the work that's been done in the past for the current administration," he said.

The final document will list observation and viewing areas; options for dining such as casual, open-air offerings and full-service, air conditioned restaurants; transportation, cycling, jogging and walking paths; and picnic areas, green space and flexible event space. Accommodation for fishing is among the priorities, perhaps even an artificial reef.

The group also will recommend a marine discovery center with an environmental education component that should benefit from the expertise of the Ocean Team, a consortium of the city's marine science, oceanographic and environmental research institutions.

During Tuesday's session, discussions quickly moved up elements previously categorized as optional, among them courtesy and transient docks for boats, bike and watercraft rental and retail space.

The final report, expected to be published in the next week or so, also will recommend coordination between the city's Pier project and the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan. It will also ask that whatever is developed be green and economically sustainable, provide local jobs, serve tourists and residents, provide shade, air conditioning and parking and be accessible to all.

The 21-member Pier Working Group, appointed by Mayor Rick Kriseman, included neighborhood leaders, environmentalists, lawyers, business people, a representative of the Tampa Bay marine industry and an advocate for people with impairments. It also brought together the various factions in the Pier debate.

The next step in the mayor's Pier timeline, which foresees a completed project by 2017, is the Request for Qualifications stage to draw design teams. A selection committee will shortlist five to eight teams, each of which will receive a stipend of about $30,000 to develop a concept. The public will be asked to pick the top three in a nonbinding vote and the committee will rank the finalists and make a recommendation to the mayor. The council will vote on the agreement.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

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