Pinellas letters

Explore all options for saving St. Petersburg's Pier

Is St. Petersburg's Pier still worth it? | March 1, story

Explore all options for saving the Pier

Historically the Pier, along with our wonderful waterfront parks, has defined our downtown. The Pier has served as a destination and anchor for downtown beginning as early as 1896, and most prominently since 1913. In 1926 the Municipal Recreation Pier was replaced with a completely new structure, including an elaborate Mediterranean revival style building called the Casino at the pier head. This was itself replaced in 1973 with the current inverted pyramid.

Pubic funds were wisely used by our city founders from earliest times to construct and maintain the Pier. The 1926 structure was supported by a bond issue approved by the voters. It was not the intention that the Pier be operated as a self-sustaining economic enterprise, but as an important part of the city's infrastructure to both help attract tourists and serve as a quality-of-life recreational facility for local residents, much as our parks and recreation centers do.

Yes, our city faces significant budget challenges, and certainly options need to be considered to make the budget sustainable. But let's not throw out the baby with the bay water and jump to talk of demolition before we have carefully considered all alternatives and systematically weighed the importance of the Pier along with all other city projects and programs.

The Pier is a landmark that perhaps more than any public building defines our city and reflects our heritage. Many positive recommendations have been recently made for enhancing, transforming and financing the Pier by such groups as CONA and those participating in the city-sponsored Pier Visioning Sessions. These need to be assessed. In addition to the available tax increment funding, federal stimulus funding should be considered.

The Pier has undergone many changes in form over the years, but it has always maintained its function as a downtown anchor, economic catalyst and amenity for local residents. The Pier is not just a downtown matter. It is a matter of importance to the whole city.

Will Michaels, president, St. Petersburg Preservation

Is St. Petersburg's Pier still worth it? | March 1, story

Cut Pier; cut checks

Why doesn't the city take the $50 million it is going to use to fix the Pier and return the money to the citizens. Just divide the $50 million by the number of citizens in the city and give us a nice stimulus check.

That would be a lot better than paying some outside Moe, Larry and Curley firm hundreds of thousands of dollars to study the corroded relic, and a heck of a lot better than paying some fly-by-night construction company to repair it and then charge us another million-plus in cost overruns.

Steve Harris, St. Petersburg

Is St. Petersburg's Pier still worth it? | March 1, story

Show some respect

On Saturday, Feb. 28, "it was a beautiful day in St. Petersburg." I took a ride downtown to the Pier. It was crowded! The parking lots, as well as the approach to the Pier, the valet parking in the center, everything was filled. People were walking and riding bikes — all this was on the Pier.

The Pier is a part of our history and should be treated with respect. It should not be just thrown away as we have done with so many other historical buildings in the downtown area.

Eileen Conte, St. Petersburg

Is St. Petersburg's Pier still worth it? | March 1, story

Pier needs planning

We moved from Nebraska to St. Petersburg one year ago. I've been on the Pier half a dozen times, but most likely never again. The architecture is ugly and doesn't match the adjacent downtown. Food service was poor. It's pedestrian-unfriendly, being a quarter of a mile out.

But it could be a fantastic attraction. How about a streetcar running from the Vinoy to the USF campus with a side trip out to the end of the Pier (and looping around BayWalk)? How about promoting the Pier as a destination for out-of-town Florida boaters on the scale of the South Seas Resort on Captiva? Why not retain city planning consultants who have done successful waterfront projects for other cities, and let them develop several options to present to the citizens of St. Petersburg?

I came from the Plains states to be near water. Downtown St. Petersburg could be so much more attractive with some visionary planning.

Bill Northwall, St. Petersburg

Homeless need help

I just have one question for your readers who wrote in to Neighborhood Times complaining about feeding the homeless in parks.

What would be your reaction to someone like Jesus when he fed the throngs as in the story of the loaves and fishes? Your coldness to the unfortunate among us leaves me sad and disappointed in my fellow men and women. Someday you should walk in their shoes.

James F. Donelon, St. Petersburg

Rays' lst pitch is to city | Feb. 26, story

Some 'home team'

I read with mild amusement this article, including comments by local officials, about how great the Charlotte County stadium is. My amusement is that a franchise would move 80 miles down the road from where they not only held their spring training but also their regular season: St. Petersburg. And yet they want a new stadium here in this area.

Now the sports writers have to travel 80 miles down the interstate to cover the "home team," and so do the fans! My congratulations to Charlotte County for achieving the move. A new stadium certainly has to include a boardwalk, kids play area and a tiki bar.

Doesn't anyone grab a hot dog and watch the game anymore?

Lurena M. Miller, Seminole

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Explore all options for saving St. Petersburg's Pier 03/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 7, 2009 3:30am]

    

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