Advertisement
  1. News

Mayor Rick Kriseman may seek more Pinellas County dollars for St. Petersburg Pier

A rendering of the design for the new St. Petersburg pier presented at City Hall in March. Mayor Rick Kriseman is mulling whether to ask Pinellas County to once again contribute millions to rebuild the iconic Pier, which is already projected to cost $66 million. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times] 
Published Oct. 22, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is mulling whether to ask Pinellas County to once again contribute millions to rebuild the iconic St. Petersburg Pier, which is already projected to cost $66 million.

Kriseman has yet to make an official request. But he has started discussions with Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard and at least one commissioner, officials said. Woodard has alerted other commissioners about those talks.

St. Petersburg's request for more funds for the new pier district project comes after Pinellas County has shifted $40 million to the city.

Commissioners awarded $20 million for the pier approach, which will help link the waterfront landmark to the thriving downtown district. Another $20 million from the city's share of Penny for Pinellas money went to help defray the $81 million for the St. Petersburg Police Department's new headquarters, parking garage and shooting range.

Getting even more money for the pier could be a hard sell.

County Commissioner Ken Welch said Kriseman "casually" mentioned the idea this week during a business trip to North Carolina. The mayor didn't offer details, but Welch said he wants to hear why the project has reached this point.

"We would have to have a conversation about that," Welch said. "I need more specifics in order to justify it."

Commissioners Charlie Justice and Karen Seel said they heard Kriseman approached Woodard about the idea, but neither has talked to the mayor. Seel voted against the city's $20 million request last year and said she needs more details before commenting on another request.

St. Petersburg spokesman Ben Kirby described the talks between the mayor and county officials as "the beginning of a conversation." But Kirby did not reveal any details, such as what the additional county funds would pay for.

"The mayor wants to look holistically at the (tax money) to see what is the best use," Kirby said. "It's a little early to say if it's going to the pier."

Meanwhile, work continues at the site of the old and new piers. Demolition of the old pier bridge was months behind schedule, but on Thursday the city tweeted a photo of the last piece being removed from the construction site. Work on the pier district is scheduled to begin early next year and a grand opening is expected late in 2018.

St. Petersburg City Council member Steve Kornell had concerns last year about diverting $20 million of penny tax money to the pier project. Those concerns haven't changed.

"I hope we figure out a way to stay on budget," Kornell said Friday. "We have a lot of needs. We shouldn't do designs that are so out of reality. That is not responsible."

The $20 million that the county has contributed to the new pier, which will replace the 1973 inverted pyramid, will help tie the pier district to the uplands by creating pedestrian walkways along Second Avenue NE, the gateway to the attraction.

Contact Mark Puente at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2996. Follow @MarkPuente.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos listens to a speaker share an opinion about a city matter during a city council meeting at Clearwater City Hall in Clearwater, Fla. on Thursday, April 20, 2017.  On Thursday, the Clearwater City Council rejected the mayor's resolution urging lawmakers to ban assault weapons.  [Times files] TIMES FILES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the city did pass a resolution calling for more modest gun control measures.
  2. An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft approaches Miami International Airport for landing in March. Bloomberg
    The 60-year-old veteran airline employee told investigators he was upset that union contract negotiations had stalled.
  3. Maurice A. Ferré at his Miami home earlier this year. JOSE A. IGLESIAS  |  Miami Herald
    He served as mayor for 12 years and set the stage for Miami to become an international city.
  4. Lilly Beth Rodriguez, left, Laura Robertson and Linda Lamont work on a Habitat for Humanity house in north Pasco. [Times (2013)]
    The increase is expected to happen in the first half of next year. CEO hopes other nonprofits follow suit.
  5. Terry Spencer carries his daughter, Trinity, through high water on 59th Street near Stewart Road in Galveston, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, as heavy rain from Tropical Depression Imelda caused street flooding on the island. JENNIFER REYNOLDS  |  AP
    Although the amount of predicted rainfall is massive — forecasters say some places could see 40 inches or more this week.
  6. This April 2001 photo, which appeared in a newsletter from the West Point Grey Academy, shows a costumed Justin Trudeau, his face and hands darkened by makeup, attending an "Arabian Nights" gala. The academy is a private school in Vancouver, B.C., where Trudeau worked as a teacher before entering politics. (West Point Grey Academy/The Canadian Press via AP)
    A few Southern politicians responded to similar scandals recently with denials, apologies, and promises. Most of them have managed to stay in office.
  7. The number of single-family homes sold in the Tampa Bay area during August rose 2.8 percent when compared with the same month last year, according to a monthly report from Florida Realtors. (Times file photo)
    The midpoint price in the bay area rose to $250,000, which is still lower than the state and national median prices.
  8. This April 14, 2019 file photo shows a western meadowlark in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo. According to a study released on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, North America’s skies are lonelier and quieter as nearly 3 billion fewer wild birds soar in the air than in 1970. Some of the most common and recognizable birds are taking the biggest hits, even though they are not near disappearing yet. The population of eastern meadowlarks has shriveled by more than three-quarters with the western meadowlark nearly as hard hit. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) DAVID ZALUBOWSKI  |  AP
    “People need to pay attention to the birds around them because they are slowly disappearing,” said the study’s lead author.
  9. Michael Robert-Jose Harbaugh has pleaded guilty in the 2017 slaying of Safety Harbor neighbor David Sommer, a former reporter. Harbaugh also pleaded guilty to a charge he tried to have a witness in the case killed. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    Former journalist David Sommer was killed in 2017. Michael Harbaugh, 42, agreed to serve 30 years in prison for his crimes.
  10. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement