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Poll suggests disapproval for St. Petersburg's new Pier design

This is what the $50 million proposal to replace the Pier could look like. The new project, known as the Lens, drew negative feedback from 64 percent of the St. Petersburg residents polled.

Courtesy City of St. Petersburg

This is what the $50 million proposal to replace the Pier could look like. The new project, known as the Lens, drew negative feedback from 64 percent of the St. Petersburg residents polled.

ST. PETERSBURG — A poll commissioned by a group of residents suggests that a majority of St. Petersburg voters object to the design proposed for the city's new Pier.

That and other results from the June poll are being used to urge Mayor Bill Foster and City Council members to call a halt to the $50 million project. At least three of the core group of six men who financed the survey will take their case to the City Council today.

"The Lens is kind of a neat sculpture. The problem is, it's not a pier. There is no magnet to bring you out there," retired financial executive Bill Stover said of the design from Michael Maltzan Architecture of Los Angeles.

Stover and others behind the poll already have met with Foster and City Council members, but hope to influence them by speaking publicly at today's meeting.

"The one thing we all agree on is that the vision of the Lens project is not the way the great majority of the voters see our city, nor does it meet our expectations for the recreational and entertainment opportunities the Pier should provide," said William Ballard, a retired construction and banking lawyer.

In the poll of 300 registered voters, 64 percent said they disapproved of the Lens design, 49 percent strongly.

Most of those interviewed do not want the city to borrow money to build the new structure.

Also, 76 percent want to vote on whether the city should proceed with the project. The majority of participants in the poll were 55 and older.

The survey was done by Tel Opinion Research, a national survey and research company. Bill Lee, president of the Alexandria, Va., company, said the margin of error is 5.7 percent.

The group that commissioned the survey is the second to oppose the new Pier. The political action committee voteonthepier.com is close to reaching its goal of collecting almost 16,000 petitions to force a vote on the project.

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

Poll suggests disapproval for St. Petersburg's new Pier design 07/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 9:39pm]

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