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Glitch in St. Pete pier survey fixed again

 
ALMA [Alfonso Architects Inc. via City of St. Petersburg]
ALMA [Alfonso Architects Inc. via City of St. Petersburg]
Published Feb. 25, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — A day after hundreds of residents had voted on seven proposals for a new St. Petersburg pier, erroneous information remained on one of the options on the survey. The misinformation also took the form of an outdated picture when the survey was shared on social media.

At issue is a "spectacular waterfall" that designers of the Destination St. Pete Pier initially included in their submission for the pier competition. The waterfall, however, can't be built within the $33 million city construction budget and, as with other budget-busting elements in the six other concepts, was supposed to be removed from the survey's description.

But when at least some voters went online on Monday and Tuesday (2,100 voted by 2 p.m. Tuesday), the language describing Destination St. Pete Pier continued to include a reference to the waterfall. When some residents shared the survey on Facebook, an image of the project with a waterfall was displayed.

When the error was first brought to their attention Monday, city officials said they would correct the newstpetepier.com site. That it remained on Tuesday was a puzzle to Michael Connors, the city's public works administrator and chairman of Mayor Rick Kriseman's pier selection committee.

"I am baffled," he said, adding that he knew that a correction had been made.

Tuesday, Kristin Brett, hired by the city to market this latest attempt to redevelop the pier, explained what happened.

"It was changed yesterday, but then unfortunately, IT picked up an older version," she said.

By lunchtime Tuesday, the error appeared to be fixed.

The waterfall had been proposed by the St. Pete Design Group, which consists of architects Harvard Jolly, Yann Weymouth and Wannemacher Jensen. The team had initially proposed that the waterfall could be underwritten with public arts funding.

Lorraine Margeson, who was involved with a group that helped halt the last pier process and now supports another of the seven concepts — Prospect Pier — is upset.

"What people have been seeing when they have been voting is not an accurate depiction of one of the plans," she said. "People should know what they are voting for in truth."

The online poll is meant to let residents vote for up three choices among the ideas proposed by the seven teams vying for the $46 million project. The nonbinding poll is just one aspect of the selection process, which requires that the city adhere to a state law that professionals such as architects and engineers must be hired based on qualifications — not solely public preference.

The survey is available online and at various locations, including all the city's public libraries and City Hall, until March 6.

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Contact Waveney Ann Moore at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283.