Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Opponents critical of Lens images on St. Petersburg's website

ST. PETERSBURG — Less than two months before a referendum that will determine the fate of the Lens and the course of the city's downtown waterfront, opponents of the proposed $50 million project are pointing to what they say are inaccurate depictions on the city website.

Prominent on the pier site is a sleekly produced video that takes a visitor on a virtual tour above, around and through the Lens. That, coupled with earlier renderings, give a deceptive view of the controversial pier, those fighting to stop the project say.

"Somebody needs to give us more drawings. You can't decide how you're going to vote on a pretty picture," said Bud Risser of the anti-Lens group, Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg. "The pictures the architect produced last summer, which are quite beautiful, are no longer accurate."

Risser and others say the Lens' appearance has undergone a dramatic change since St. Petersburg residents first saw the design more than a year ago. They say the change of materials for the iconic canopy from more expensive and heavier concrete panels to aluminum panels over galvanized steel has altered its look.

They also refer to a photograph of a model deep in the city's website that shows additional support columns and a canopy that appears to be fashioned with elongated, horizontal panels.

Lorraine Margeson, Concerned Citizens' office manager and a candidate for City Council, sent an email blast this week comparing a December rendering with a version of the newer model on the city's site.

"The city says that it 'can't afford' to update their website with renderings that reflect the current iteration of the very changed Lens concept," Margeson wrote. "Well, we have some folks doing that FOR FREE, Mayor (Bill) Foster, we'll take care of it for you if you'll guarantee to put up the truth on the city's site."

Indeed, finding the latest information requires more than a cursory visit to the website promoting "The New St. Pete Pier." For that, visitors must delve into the expansive "Book 3" of the Lens design presented to the City Council in May.

The city had said that a continued flow of updated renderings was not part of its contract with Michael Maltzan Architecture, designers of the Lens. This week, though, city architect Raul Quintana said Maltzan is working on new renderings at no cost to the city.

"The essential components of the design are still there,'' Quintana said. "We haven't misrepresented that. It's the details that are changing."

Council Chairman Karl Nurse, who supports Concerned Citizens and its referendum to stop the Lens, shares the group's concerns.

"They are certainly correct in that the city's website does have essentially conceptual drawings that do not reflect the changes that have happened over time," he said.

Downtown resident Howard Taylor is among those leading the charge. In May, the former stockbroker fired off a letter to the mayor and City Council outlining his concerns. He raised the issue again at a council meeting.

"We just don't know, especially with the vote coming up, exactly what the Lens is," he said in an interview.

The new model "demonstrates what many of us believe, which is the beautiful, curving lines of the original concept cannot be produced using the newly proposed construction materials," Risser said.

"That model is not representative of the final condition of the canopy or the finishes to the canopy," Quintana said. "The intent of the model is a design tool that the architect uses to look at the project in three dimensions."

A lot has been learned from tests conducted and those are "reflected in the design of the canopy, the structural support system, the foundation and the overall geometry of the project," Quintana said.

Meanwhile, council member Jeff Danner, a staunch Lens supporter, wants to step up efforts to educate voters. He plans to bring up the issue at Thursday's council meeting.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

Comments
Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

ATLANTA — A sudden power outage brought the world’s busiest airport to a standstill Sunday, grounding more than 1,000 flights in Atlanta just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush. Authorities announced that electricity would be restored...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

TAMPA — The Bucs and Falcons have each won three straight games on Monday nights as they face each other on a national platform tonight at Raymond James Stadium.How can Tampa Bay continue its streak and stop Atlanta’s? It won’t be easy, but given the...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Woman shot and killed in apparent drive-by shooting in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A woman was shot to death Sunday night in an apparent drive-by shooting, according to Clearwater police.Authorities said they received an initial call at 8:19 p.m. originating from 800 Belleair Road. The shooting is believed to have occu...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

TAMPA — The beers and the "love ya, bros" were flowing Saturday night at the Hooters in Tampa. Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s home game against the Falcons, worked the room, greeting family, frie...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

TAMPA — It’s ridiculous that it took this long to give Jon Gruden a night all his own, given the nights he gave Bucs fans. But it will happen this evening at Raymond James Stadium, a salute to the thermonuclear source of that Super Bowl season, that ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts Rolling a fat one — 100 feet longMarijuana aficionados have rolled a 100-foot-long joint. The effort was led by Boston-based cannabis club and advocacy group Beantown Greentown during an exhibition of pro-marijuana vendors and supporter...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Friendly competition

Friendly competition

 
Updated: 7 hours ago

More than 300 cruise passengers fall ill with stomach virus

PORT EVERGLADES — More than 300 passengers on a cruise ship that docked at Port Everglades fell ill with a stomach virus. The Naples Daily News reported that the Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited’s ship Independence docked Saturday in Florida reported ...
Updated: 8 hours ago