ST. PETERSBURG — The city won’t say exactly when its $92 million, 26-acre Pier District will open, but Mayor Rick Kriseman’s spokesman hints that an announcement is likely not far off.
“We will have an opening date soon,” Benjamin Kirby said Thursday.
The mayor had planned a grand opening for May 30, but that was changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, though, it appears that the Pier’s most talked about public art could be in place for the new opening date. The work of world-renowned sculptor and Tampa native Janet Echelman is being reinstalled this week. The piece, called Bending Arc, was installed early this year, but had to be taken down and returned to its fabricator in Washington state for adjustments.
The net was returned to St. Petersburg in two shipments this week, Kirby said, with rehanging starting on Wednesday.
“It will take several days to hang it and balance and set the lighting,” he said.
Echelman has permanent installations in such places as Porto, Portugal, Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle. The artist, whose studio is in Massachusetts, has a $1.47 million contract with St. Petersburg for her work.
Kriseman raised $1.25 million in private money to pay for the sculpture and another $400,000 to help cover costs for the infrastructure, including the foundation, lighting and four pylons. Additionally, the city allocated $1.3 million in tax increment financing funds for the design and construction of the infrastructure. The Public Art Commission also committed $250,000 to the project.