The St. Petersburg City Council made the only sensible decision Thursday by declining to schedule a voter referendum on the future of the Pier. Now the city can move forward with the new design that offers plenty of intriguing possibilities and lots of room for improvement.
The council members heard a wider range of opinions during the public hearing than save the existing outdated pier, which was not a valid option. Some speakers recognize that reality but don't like the proposed Lens. Others, particularly young professionals and business leaders, see the Lens' potential and were persuasive in urging the council not to be sidetracked by a referendum. Now it's time to refocus and engage the entire community in refining the vision.
The presentation of the Lens has not been flawless. The design is difficult to fully appreciate in artist renderings, and it needs to be more readily recognizable. It also was a mistake to put so much emphasis on an idealistic underwater feature without first consulting local marine science experts. Their realistic assessments about what is achievable in the bay could have headed off much of the criticism aimed at the Los Angeles architect.
On the plus side, the Lens design already is being refined to reflect residents' desire for more dining, more shade and more activities. City Council members are determined to remain engaged, and there should be plenty of opportunities for residents to make suggestions and for adjustments to be made that fit into the overall concept.
Council members Leslie Curran, Jeff Danner, Bill Dudley, Charlie Gerdes, Jim Kennedy and Steve Kornell stood up to considerable pressure and appropriately rejected a referendum. It was the right call, and it's time to move forward.