Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg City Council to select firm to create vision for downtown waterfront

ST. PETERSBURG — A dozen years ago, the city embarked on a months-long endeavor to get feedback from residents on what they wanted the community to look, feel and be like for the next generation.

That exercise, which came to be known as Vision 2020, laid the groundwork for reworking city land use regulations.

Later this year, the city will once again seek input, this time about the waterfront. The same planners will be tapped to lead this effort, too.

The City Council will be asked Thursday to authorize negotiations for a contract — worth up to $500,000 — with AECOM, a Los Angeles-based global consulting firm.

AECOM was one of 18 companies that responded to the city's bid request to develop a master plan for the waterfront.

Days ago, a selection committee ranked AECOM at the top of its list. Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne Associates and Virginia-based Ecology and Environment were ranked second and third, respectively.

"I'm real familiar with the community," said AECOM principal Pete Sechler, who worked on the Vision 2020 plan at the beginning of former Mayor Rick Baker's first term. "We're very pleased to be selected."

Sechler's team on the Vision 2020 team worked for a different company at the time.

If the council gives its approval, the mayor can start negotiating with AECOM. The final price of the contract, which requires council approval, will depend on the scope of the project.

Officials already have said they'd want the planners to incorporate the work of the Urban Land Institute, which issued a report about the waterfront this year.

At least one city council member has a problem with that.

Karl Nurse said there hasn't yet been a thorough public discussion about the ULI report. He said he doesn't want the planners to assume the ULI report is what residents actually want.

"I don't mind sending them the report, but at the very least there ought to be a cover letter or an attachment," Nurse said. "It would save time and angst to give folks a heads up before they get started. There are several elements in there that will get people fired up."

Nurse said he doesn't want this effort to mirror what happened with the pier.

In particular, he said, the ULI report talks of reconfiguring Al Lang Field, Dali Boulevard and some parts of the airport. A plan to point more people to Lassing Park may upset residents.

"We haven't had any discussion about many of these things," Nurse said.

Sechler said there will be plenty of opportunity for the community to weigh in on the ULI report.

"Our job is to explore those topics with the community," Sechler said. "My goal for the project is to have a plan that reflects the community's values about the waterfront and is sensitive to and respects the different activities that are happening from north to south."

The final plan is scheduled to be adopted by July 2015.

AECOM has been involved in other big projects in the Tampa Bay area. It helped shape Tampa's vision for its waterfront, and is conducting a feasibility study on the proposed downtown aquarium in Clearwater. It also has done master planning in England, downtown San Diego and San Francisco.

Sechler said discussions with St. Petersburg residents would happen over several months and include face-to-face meetings and social media outreach.

St. Petersburg City Council to select firm to create vision for downtown waterfront 03/04/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:04am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Duke Energy Florida president answers questions about utility's response to Irma


    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than a week since Hurricane Irma knocked out power to millions of Floridians, Duke Energy announced it will finish its restoration efforts Tuesday.

    Duke Energy Florida President Harry Sideris greets St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday at a news conference where both spoke about Hurricane Irma recovery. The event was held at a Florida Department of Transportation lot next to Maximo Park in St. Petersburg, where the city is collecting Irma yard debris which will be mulched and sold to a local tomato farmer. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Leaves, mountains, ice cream and cheese: What's not to like in Burlington, Vt.?


    If I loved Burlington, Vt., during a visit with my daughter when the high was 37 degrees, I feel completely comfortable recommending the city as a great destination for fall, when it's considered one of the top leaf-watching spots in the world.

    Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is the sixth-oldest college established in New England.
  3. Puerto Ricans in Tampa Bay wait with dread as Hurricane Maria approaches island


    TAMPA — As Hurricane Maria swirled in the Atlantic Ocean, Sarykarmen Rivera got a phone call from her parents in Puerto Rico. They had an ominous message.

    Sarykarmen Rivera sits for a portrait with a picture of herself and her family in her hometown of Guayama, Puerto Rico, while at the Univision studios in Tampa on Tuesday. Rivera's mother, father, and extended family are currently in Puerto Rico and she worries about their safety as Hurricane Maria approaches. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  4. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B


    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project


    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]