Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg Pier options push timetable further back

Charles Arbeen, 55, of Washington state, takes a morning walk on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier last month.  St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman reopened the pier head recently.


Charles Arbeen, 55, of Washington state, takes a morning walk on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier last month. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman reopened the pier head recently.

ST. PETERSBURG — With the contentious Pier issue now on his watch, Mayor Rick Kriseman must find consensus among disparate notions about how to continue a tradition that dates to 1889.

The new mayor also must contend with a formerly mentioned goal "to have the new pier built by the end of 2015" and a slightly diminished budget of approximately $45 million.

Friday city staff presented Kriseman with three proposals for moving the stalled Pier process forward, ideas that he will evaluate immediately, spokesman Ben Kirby said.

"He has a sense of urgency about this," Kirby said.

Each option shatters Kriseman's self-imposed 2015 deadline for a new Pier, setting a grand opening in 2018.

Kriseman may also have to consider a new report from the Urban Land Institute advising that the city rethink the Pier. ULI recommends demolishing the closed inverted pyramid, "rehabbing or rebuilding it as needed, while adding fixed-rail connections, shade and green."

Meanwhile, the three staff options, laid out with flow charts and timelines, emphasize public outreach and input, including a non-binding vote or survey about feasible concepts for a new Pier.

The plans "are malleable" and "not etched in stone," Kirby said, adding that Kriseman may select different aspects from each to devise a quicker way forward.

Approval of the groups that have argued about what should rise over Tampa Bay from the city's downtown will be a key part of the mayor's effort, Kirby said.

"The first step is to bring community partners to the table … hear them out so we can have everybody invested in the process," Kirby said.

Groups such as Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, which organized the successful petition drive to fight a previously proposed replacement of the inverted pyramid, will be among those invited to approve the new process, Kirby said. Those who want to save the pyramid also will be asked to participate in the discussion, along with supporters of the Lens, the avant garde design by Los Angeles-based Michael Maltzan Architecture that voters rejected last August.

Bud Risser, a leader of Concerned Citizens who met with Kriseman on Tuesday, embraces the inclusive approach.

"It's clear to me that his vision about how to proceed is similar to Concerned Citizens," Risser said. "He is sensitive to the difficulties from the past and he has a plan that includes letting everybody in the front door."

Risser said his group envisions a process that would include people "who are already familiar with the Lens and the processes of the last year and half." Concerned Citizens also wants knowledgeable people involved, "because that will speed the process" and would like "preference given to participants who are knowledgeable about our community and the unique Tampa Bay environment," Risser said.

The mayor's next step will launch a phase in the years-long public debate to determine what to do about what city officials have said is a deteriorating pier bridge, pier head and pier building.

But the ULI report could fuel the arguments. The institute, whose mission is "to provide leadership in the responsible use of land," is recommending a reconfiguration of the parking lots on the pier peninsula "to make room for more open parkland." Its report says that this area and existing land could be used to create "a medium-sized venue for multipurpose use at the west end of the pier." ULI also suggests that a new area in the center could host other activities that would be "served by fixed-rail transit."

Most significantly, the institute says that the city should "revisit the $50 million public financing for rebuilding of the pier to ensure public dollars are used for top-priority projects" and "reflect the wants and needs of the community."

Kriseman could make his decision about the new Pier process in a few days, Kirby said. During his campaign, the mayor said he favored an expedited process for the pier, with designs "to be reviewed, narrowed down, and sent to council by September of 2014," and work with the architect to have the new pier built by the end of the following year.

There are bureaucratic hurdles to consider, such as permitting. Under the old plan for the Lens, the inverted pyramid was scheduled to be demolished last summer. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not yet granted a permit to do so.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at or (727) 892-2283.

St. Petersburg Pier options push timetable further back 02/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 14, 2014 11:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Graco recalls car seats; webbing may not hold child in crash

    Public Safety

    Graco Children's Products is recalling more than 25,000 car seats because the harness webbing can break in a crash and may not keep children restrained.

    Graco has recalled eight different car seat models.
  2. Pro Bowl returning to Orlando in 2018


    ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

    Bucs  wide receiver Mike Evans runs a route as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. defends during the first quarter of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in January at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Plan your weekend: Memorial Day, Sunset Music Fest, comic Pablo Francisco, sci-fi writer Jeff VanderMeer


    Plan your weekend


    Memorial Day: Monday is the day to honor those who died serving their country, and the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony will have Fox 13 anchor Alcides Segui as emcee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and musical performances starting at 10 a.m. at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., St. …

    GULF SHORES, AL - MAY 20:  Diplo of Major Lazer performs at the Surf Stage during 2017 Hangout Music Festival on May 20, 2017 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Hangout Music Festival) 700050769
  4. For starters: Rays looking for runs and a win

    Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season.
  5. United Airlines CEO to investors: We'll be more focused on customers


    CHICAGO — The CEO of United Airlines assured shareholders Wednesday that the company is doing all it can to be more customer-friendly since video surfaced of a passenger being violently ejected from a plane last month.

    Chicago Police arrest protesters after they sat down in a busy street blocking traffic outside a United Airlines shareholders meeting Wednesday, in downtown Chicago. The people who were arrested were protesting the low pay of employees of companies that provide meals and other services for United Airlines at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
[Associated Press]