Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Voice of pier task force was heard

Published Aug. 1, 2012

Editor's note: In a column published Thursday, "Citizens pushed aside in Pier planning,'' retired St. Petersburg lawyer William Ballard questioned the process that produced the proposed Lens project that would replace St. Petersburg's Pier. Today, two leaders of the Pier Advisory Task Force respond.

The task force was formed in early 2009 and charged with proposing "multiple redevelopment alternatives including construction costs" for a new pier. It consisted of 20 residents appointed by former Mayor Rick Baker and the St. Petersburg City Council. Over 14 months, we considered public input from multiple visioning sessions, online comments, other task force-led public forums and 63 public meetings. We formed four subcommittees and hired four consultants to assist us to find the best options for this landmark feature on our waterfront.

Part of our work included case studies of seven different piers, five in the United States and two in the United Kingdom. We wanted to see how they were successful and concluded that they were all tied back into their downtowns; the programs began at the base of the pier and were located throughout the entire pier; and they provided short walking distances between attractions.

The city did not reject, but rather built upon the task force's report. We provided the city with four alternatives for the pier, and two alternatives for development of the upland area. These alternatives were generic in nature, basically outlining possible building footprints for the pier. The Lens design team modeled their plans around Pier Task Force Alternative 4, which provided for most of the new pier buildings on the upland with a narrow pedestrian pier extending into the bay. For the upland area, they used Task Force Concept 2 as a theme, providing new parks both active and passive.

The Ballard column states that the task force recommended as its primary attraction a single building to house a restaurant, limited retail and public space. These activities were not necessarily meant to be tied to a single building. In addition to the activities mentioned above, the task force report recommended further consideration of a marine discovery center, transient docks, on the upland a water park or family-oriented entertainment, incorporation of pedestrian/bike trails linked to downtown, and additional small food venues.

We agree the idea of a restaurant was prominent in the task force's report, but this was not intended as a linchpin. The Lens design was ultimately recommended by the independent jury and approved by the City Council. The design includes a cafe at the interior dockside. As a result of recent input from the community, including the Council of Neighborhood Associations, an additional open-air cafe/grill has been added at the eastern promontory, and the Lens is proposing an additional restaurant on the upland. While this is not exactly what we envisioned, it does substantially address the task's force's identification of a restaurant-based program as a focus.

We disagree that the City Council "rejected all of the task force alternatives." The council transmitted them to the international architectural community for their guidance. While the mayor and City Council could have selected a single alternative, they chose not to do this. Our understanding is they, like we, wanted to foster creativity and the best possible design. The task force report was a platform upon which to build. This was also why the task force recommended an open international competition. It was never the intent that the design competitors be limited to the alternatives and footprints developed by the task force. Given current budget limitations, not everything proposed and recommended in the task force report can be accomplished at this time. The design team together with the community needs to achieve a reasonable balance.

We agree with Ballard that wording in the introduction to the city staff Competition Design Principles document regarding the task force being "well-intentioned but shortsighted" is disturbing. Nevertheless, a close examination of the document shows that virtually every design principle put forth is grounded and reflective of the task force report.

During our long study we found that no design for the pier is going to be fully supported by everyone. If we are to continue to advance our downtown waterfront there needs to be a spirit of reasonable compromise and give and take. Even the best plans are seldom implemented as originally envisioned. They need to adapt to new information, feedback and circumstances as we proceed. We believe the Lens design team is seeking to do that.

Ed Montanari left, served as vice chairman of the Pier Task Force. Will Michaels, right, served as the task force's design committee chairman.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Leonard Pitts [undefined]
    Leonard Pitts explains that diversity doesn’t happen by itself.
  2. San Francisco has benefited from the growth of nearby Silicon Valley. That metro area added 30,000 jobs in the past year.
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  3. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools this month in Tallahassee. [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT  |  AP]
    Here’s what readers have to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
  4. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waves to members of the Florida Legislature during a joint session of lawmakers this week. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  5. Presiding Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. [AP]
    Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  6. Jomari DeLeon, is pictured at at Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, Florida August 7, 2019. Jomari is three years into a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking. She sold 48 tablets of prescription tablets over two days to an undercover officer. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times]
    Women, Hispanics and residents from smaller counties are disproportionately serving long drug sentences that are no longer in place.
  7. Thousands of trees line the Hillsborough River near Wilderness park in Hillsborough County in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Many of Florida’s problems originate with that ‘motto,’ writes historian Gary Mormino.
  8. First meeting of U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr. and their two wives — Patricia Nixon and Coretta Scott King — during Independence Day celebrations in Accra, Ghana, on March 6, 1957, on the tails of the end of the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. It was the first trip to Africa of all of them. [Photo by Griff Davis on assignment as U.S. Foreign Service Officer by U.S. Information Service (USIS). Copyright and courtesy of Griffith J. Davis Photographs & Archives.]
    Griff Davis’ daughter recounts how the photographer and Foreign Service officer captured a famous photo of King and Richard Nixon.
  9. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman speak at a summit held by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Resiliency Coalition this month in St. Petersburg. [LANGSTON TAYLOR  |  Times staff]
    Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman should lead an effort for robust regional transit.
  10. Vehicle traffic is seen along Bayshore Boulevard at a crosswalk at South Dakota Avenue in Tampa. Several intersections have pedestrian-activated beacons.
    A bill would end the confusion and save lives by making crosswalk signals red.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement