Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

Lens architect answers Suncoast Tiger Bay questions

ST. PETERSBURG — Local architect Lisa Wannemacher expected tough questions when she stepped into the Tiger's den Tuesday to talk about the project slated to replace the city's aging Pier.

Instead, she faced a mostly friendly crowd as she and TV pitchman Anthony Sullivan touted the Lens, one of the most divisive projects in recent city history.

"I was worried for nothing," Wannemacher said after the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club's monthly political luncheon.

One man asked why "anyone in their right mind would volunteer" to walk on the Lens in Florida's sweltering summer heat. Wannemacher countered that misters blow cool air at customers eating outside at Beach Drive restaurants.

Another member urged Wannemacher to install a concert venue on the Lens. Another asked how the Lens would fit in "St. Petersburg's sense of place." A woman questioned whether the Lens would accommodate people with disabilities.

Local blogger Peter Schorsch asked Sullivan what would happen if opposition groups dropped efforts to halt the project and voters were able to decide the outcome in 45 days.

"I don't think that is going to happen," said Sullivan, who vowed to rally voters if the issue gets on a ballot. "I don't think we need another vote."

That decision could come as soon as today during a hearing for summary judgment on former City Council member Kathleen Ford's lawsuit to save the Pier.

A judge could rule for either side, or decide to send the case to trial.

Ford and five other residents filed a lawsuit to force the city to hold a referendum on the Pier's fate. It also asks for a temporary injunction to halt demolition of the Pier, slated for May 31, pending the court's ruling and outcome of a vote.

The approach to the Pier, which opened in 1973, is deteriorating. The city plans to tear it down and replace is with the $50 million Lens project.

The city currently subsidizes the Pier's operation with $1.4 million a year.

During Tuesday's luncheon, Marla Short asked why residents have to subsidize the project.

Wannemacher said the subsidy for the Lens will be half as much, adding: "All parks in the city are subsidized in some way."

The "Stop the Lens" effort includes financiers, philanthropists, art patrons, real estate investors and former Yacht Club commodores. Their group, Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, represents a powerhouse of political and social clout.

Two group members sat near the front of the room. Gene Smith, a political operative with the group, wore a red sweater and kept his hand raised when Wannemacher took questions. She didn't call on him.

When asked after the event why she picked questions from people she knew by first name, Wannemacher replied: "From my vantage point, I didn't see him. I would have called on Gene."

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Comments
Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

After a two-hour weather delay Saturday evening at USF, the remote local threat of lightning finally dissipated.The postseason intensity never did.For the second consecutive night, the UCF-USF baseball series delivered, this time with the Bulls (25-1...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe a path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe a path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by the how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of ...
Published: 04/22/18
Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. – Sean Manaea watched as Marcus Semien fired a ball from short to second baseman Jed Lowrie, turned around, and jumped into the arms of catcher Jonathan Lucroy. History was made at the Coliseum.Manaea no-hit the Red Sox on ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

TAMPA — Pardon Mikhail Sergachev if he isn't so good at one of hockey's greatest traditions. After all, growing a Stanley Cup playoff beard isn't easy when you're still just a teenager.As he stood in the Lightning locker room Saturday evening w...
Updated: 4 hours ago