ST. PETERSBURG — With notice that incoming Mayor Rick Kriseman planned to reopen the area around the Pier to the public, workers began preparing the way days before his swearing in last Thursday.
The fence that had enclosed the inverted pyramid since its closure in May came down Sunday, and the pier head once again welcomes sightseers, joggers and anglers.
The building itself remains tightly secured pending a decision about whether it should be renovated or demolished. Meanwhile, taxpayers are paying about $30,000 a month for 24-hour security, maintenance and utilities at the facility, a cost that is not expected to rise with the increased public access, said David Metz, the city's director of downtown enterprise facilities.
"There is additional maintenance, but we will be able to cover it with current staff," he said, adding that the city already had a contract for two security officers to patrol the area.
Metz said city workers had been preparing the Pier surround, which includes a fishing pier on the eastern end, for several days. "We knew the mayor was going to announce it, so we had a few days," he said.
As part of the preparation, paver blocks were repaired, trash receptacles were put in place and lights checked. Additionally, the deck was pressure-cleaned and the sidewalk and fishing pier inspected.
What to do about the Pier, a city tradition for more than a century, will be the difficult part. Kriseman has promised that the city will get a new pier by 2015.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2283.