Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Keep Pier's inverted pyramid closed

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Reopening the empty and dilapidated inverted pyramid at the end of the St. Petersburg Pier makes no financial sense, and Mayor Bill Foster was right this week to quickly reject such a notion. The building, now closed for seven weeks, no longer has tenants, and crews are beginning preparation for its demolition. Those who wish to walk, bike or fish have access to the pier bridge, but taxpayers should not be wasting more money to reopen an outdated, shuttered facility.

The latest last-ditch attempt to stop the city's momentum on replacing the pyramid came from Fred Whaley, one of the leaders of a citizens group that wants to stop the city from building the Lens, the proposed Pier replacement. But the group has yet to make a concrete suggestion on how to proceed — including rehabilitating the current Pier. For good reason. The estimate for saving the pyramid and rebuilding the bridge is $74 million, far more than the city's $50 million budget will allow.

While Foster rejected reopening the inverted pyramid now, this latest sideshow is partially his doing. The mayor appointed Whaley to his ill-conceived 828 Alliance Committee, a mismatch of Lens supporters and detractors who are supposed to figure out what happens should voters reject the Lens at the Aug. 27 primary election. So far, the group's work has looked more like an instrument for obstruction than a tool for conciliation.

The inverted pyramid has outlived its useful life. The only honest question is what comes next, and that can't be answered until voters weigh in. Until then, keeping the inverted pyramid closed is the wise choice.

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