Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The Pier: one man’s plan

SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

SCOTT KEELER | Times

What to do about the Pier? A task force of 20 people has been working hard for a year to come up with options, which the St. Petersburg City Council will hear soon. But instead of options, I thought it would be interesting to hear one informed person's opinion unfettered by the compromises and trade-offs inevitable in committee work. So I asked the task force chairman himself — Randy Wedding, a former mayor and current architect — what he would do if it were his choice alone. Here, in words and pictures, are his ideas:

A. Turn the approach to the Pier into something else altogether — a linear park. Instead of a bridge, build seawalls and fill in the space to create a broad causeway of green so the approach to the Pier would become a double-sided waterfront park. Add boat slips to the new causeway so people can tie up their boats and have fun at the Pier.

B. Make getting there part of the fun. Build a people mover — something similar to the trams at Tampa International — that connects current downtown garages with the Pier. Keep cars away from the new causeway.

C. Keep the existing Pier building (the upside pyramid has its charms), but use the lower levels for museums or attractions. Wrap a park and seawalls around the Pier. Have only enough retail to serve the visitor.

D. Build a pedestrian swing-bridge to cross the Vinoy Yacht Basin, creating a family-friendly continuous promenade.

E. Develop family- oriented, theme-generated activities for children and parents on the linear park and at the Pier. Think "Hands-On Marine Science" and "Voyages of the Calypso" by Cousteau.

What the task force will propose

The task force itself will present to the City Council three options: one alternative that maintains the Pier building in its present location; one that would remove the building and put a new structure closer to the shoreline; and one that would rebuild the structure at the end of the pier. Though each has some support among the committee members and, in turn, gives some options to the City Council to consider, task force chairman Randy Wedding says they are not the real meat of the work that has been accomplished. Here, in his words, is the core of what the task force has discovered — and what any final plan must take into account to succeed:

• The Pier is in the entertainment business and needs to address a primary unfilled niche for family entertainment.

• The Pier needs to draw both local and tourist traffic.

• Access to the Pier remains a priority concern.

• While "drop-off" from cars is important, a "people mover" system with very short waiting times would be highly desirable.

• If a "people mover" were built, eliminating asphalt parking lots on land closer to the Pier would be an excellent byproduct.

• Retail operations cannot operate as the revenue-producing element in the Pier building; rent levels are not attainable.

• We should not create facilities that compete with those already existing near the waterfront.

• A maximum of 40,000 square feet of restaurant/food operations probably represents the most the market will support.

• Reconstructing bridges over pilings is to simply replace the current problem with a future one.

• A causeway creating a linear park and replacing "hardscape" with a green environment should be explored as a solution. (Wedding points out that current waterfront parks were actually dredge and fill.)

• Boaters need to have temporary slips available to enjoy the benefits of the waterfront activities.

• A pedestrian bridge connecting Vinoy Park with the Pier Park to the south is an important improvement for both.

• The approach to the Pier needs to provide interim activities supporting the entire concept. The Vinoy Basin represents an opportunity to bring mega-yachts and their cachet to the waterfront.

The Pier: one man’s plan 03/25/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 27, 2010 8:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]