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  1. Opinion

Pier going out not with a bang but a whimper

You would think that after all the civic breast-beating, the wails of protest, the huffing and puffing and whining, the demise of the Pier on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront would involve something more dramatic than razing the structure one lonely beam and bolt at a time.

Surely there must be a Lethal Weapon XXV somewhere in the pre-production phase looking for an edifice to blow up.

Given all the debate about the Pier's future, or as it turned out, lack thereof, its final days deserved one big honking "Ka-Boom!" to send it off to that debris heap in the sky.

But no, the Pier will take its last breath the old-fashioned way as Sonny Glasbrenner Inc. of Clearwater spends the next 60 days or so methodically dismantling the structure. And it will take an estimated four more months for the Pier approach and Pier head to eventually make way for the Pier Park project. All very boring. All very professional, which is probably what one ought to expect for $5.2 million. But couldn't we have at least one reasonably stout "Fire in the hole!" moment just for fun? Apparently not.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has announced some vague plans for a community farewell to the inverted pyramid. What fun.

Does Kriseman actually want to find himself caught in the middle of a Pyramid shiva surrounded by the likes of Bud Karins, Lorraine Margeson and Bud Risser, who led the community charge to preserve the Pyramid as if Washington had slept there, or the Camp David Accords had been signed at the bait shop, or the Manhattan Project had originated at Cha Cha Coconuts?

The city is obligated to install some kind of cockamamie plaque attesting to the historical significance of the soon-to-be dearly departed Pier. This ought to keep Kriseman's propagandists working all hours of the night trying to cook up some gibberish as to the profound role the inverted pyramid had on the region's history.

"Here lies what was once the inverted pyramid. It was ..., well it was here is what it was. And now it isn't. And some people think that is pretty gosh-darned important. Although the rest of us have no idea why."

Or perhaps the memorial could quote that noted existentialist philosopher and soon-to-be term-limited-out-of-office St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton, who said: "Once you tear down what you got, there is no turning back."

Never let it be said that the obvious ever eluded Newton.

Still, for all the inverted pyramid dithering, at long last the city's Pier nightmare is about to come to an end.

And perhaps that's the real history-making moment which is occurring here. Oh my! The city of St. Petersburg is moving forward. The nagging voices of preserving the dilapidated status quo were ignored. Something new and innovative and (dare it be said) different will eventually rise from the rubble.

One kaboom would have been fun. But progress is being committed. And there is no turning back.

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