For the third time in a century, St. Petersburg has an opportunity to transform its waterfront by building a new pier for the next generation. And just like before, residents are divided about the way forward. A new Tampa Bay Times poll shows that opponents who have put a measure on the Aug. 27 primary election ballot to try to kill the project have the upper hand five weeks before the election. • But voters should look past the myths spread by critics about the proposed new pier and re-examine the extraordinary project called the Lens. The product of four years of public meetings and an international competition, the design by architect Michael Maltzan incorporates many of the recommendations of a citizen task force and can be built within the city's limited budget over the next two years. That makes more sense than starting over with a new concept or renovating the closed inverted pyramid that is not worth saving.
This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification:
An editorial in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times said the over-water restaurant proposed for the new St. Petersburg pier would be air conditioned. The architect anticipates the restaurant will include movable wall panels that will allow it to be enclosed and that it will use portable air conditioners. Chris Ballestra, the city's managing director of development coordination, said that may happen but that design plans for the over-water restaurant are not complete.