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St. Petersburg's Pier is a wonderful waterfront amenity

Creative ideas need to emerge to make payout to Pier worth it Jan. 17

We have wonderful waterfront amenity

As a longtime resident of the city (with no connection to the Pier), I am sick and tired of the St. Petersburg Times bad-mouthing the Pier.

My husband and I frequent the Pier and, yes, bring friends and relatives there. It is a wonderful destination for a walk along the waterfront, where you can rest, enjoy the spectacular view, have refreshments and see what is going on. More often than not on the weekends there is a live (usually pretty good) band. On a recent Sunday, the Pier was packed with people dancing to the "Happy Days" duo.

I have never been to the Pier — day or night, weekday or weekend — when there were not plenty of people strolling on it, and often there is quite a crowd. Where else in St. Petersburg can one (who is not rich enough to own a waterfront condo) go to be surrounded by water and enjoy an unobstructed view of ships and sailboats and the Sunshine Skyway on a beautiful Florida day?

Sandra Gadsden's very opinionated piece seeks to make up St. Petersburg's residents' minds about the Pier. Does she think that one day of "research" (and a weekday at that) makes her an authority on who enjoys the Pier and why? She asks, "Who goes to visit the Pier without having friends and relatives in tow?" Well, visitors (of which we all have many here in the Sunshine State) are exactly the kind of traffic that places like the Pier are meant to attract. And what is wrong with tourists going to the Pier to buy sunglasses, souvenirs and T-shirts?

Further, Gadsden's assertion that there is no good place for locals to shop at the Pier is hogwash. There are a half dozen very nice little shops where I frequently buy Christmas and birthday presents. Why on earth does Gadsden think that yet another Starbucks or Cheesecake Factory qualifies as "something fresh," as opposed to the unique shops that can be found at the Pier?

If Sandra Gadsden is on the phone to Starbucks or the Cheesecake Factory, she might ask them to move in to the almost-defunct BayWalk. Now there's a place that truly needs reviving. The Pier is completely full, as far as I can tell, and seems to be doing quite well, thank you.

Susan Oliver, St. Petersburg

Creative ideas need to emerge to make payout to Pier worth it Jan. 17

Let's look for ways to draw even more

Sandra Gadsden makes some good suggestions on "something fresh" for the Pier, and I would support the Cheesecake Factory, Bonefish, Outback approach.

I am a downtown condo resident with a view of the Pier and am on the Pier most days of the week jogging or biking. I also partake of the Columbia Restaurant and Cha Cha Coconuts. On Jan. 17, a Sunday, Gadsden would have seen a crowd different from what she described. We went to the Pier to buy a purse for my wife. Afterward, we had lunch. Both restaurants on the third and fourth floor were busy. The courtyard out back on the main level was busy with guests dancing to the band, eating, drinking and enjoying themselves.

Most of the piers studied by the Task Force are older than ours. They have proven to be a draw. Walking back home I studied those strolling the Pier, some young, some old, who appeared to be having fun enjoying an activity where they did not have to spend big bucks. Most any time of the day when I look at the Pier there are people on it.

Let's look at the Task Force report and support an approach that will make downtown St. Petersburg an even bigger draw.

Jim Smith, St. Petersburg

Why replace Pier? Focus elsewhere

I visit friends in the St. Petersburg area monthly, and as I do, I take a hard look at the city in which I spent my formative years. I see much of the infrastructure in need of repair and am depressed by the numbers of abandoned buildings and homes.

With all of these things in dire need, it is curious that the city wants to replace the Pier. Fifty-million dollars is a lot to spend on a project that does little for the majority of the local residents.

The city leaders need to take a hard look at the "charm" outside the 10-block area of downtown and realize that there are other things in critical need of repair.

My suggestion: Sell the Pier to a Hollywood studio for $50 million and have them blow it up for a disaster movie. While everyone argues over what to replace it with, it would make for a nice place to park one's skiff and fish for supper.

Richard DesChenes, Williston

Here's an idea: Let's recycle the Pier

I agree we have spent too much money on the Pier. The only time I go is to take my grandkids on the trolley.

So here's an idea: Level the building, keep the foundation and give the space to the Saturday Morning Market. They always draw a crowd and make money, too. It would be great if we could alternate Saturday and Sunday with Williams Park and other events on Central Avenue. We need to recycle St. Pete!

Wanda Pedersen, St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg's Pier is a wonderful waterfront amenity 02/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 12:28pm]
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