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Old 08-21-2013, 09:48 AM
 
426 posts, read 1,129,856 times
Reputation: 254

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Many houses in my part of town have signs up by now, either for or against the new pier. I've also been approached several times by activists on the "stop the pier" side. Anecdotally, they seem to outnumber the "build the pier" side.

I am usually a heavily opinionated person but like to think I look at everything from a rational and objective standpoint. This is one of the few things that I can't come to my own conclusion on. I am surprised that so many can come to such a passionate position.

My thinking:

1. The supports for the existing pier need significant and costly work. Also, the existing pier is subsidized and costs us all. So I really don't see saving the existing pier as an option. It is currently closed and anything of value was already auctioned off.

2. The "Stop the Lens" people have a good point in that this new structure would not really be a destination of any sort. We have more shoreline sidewalks than anyone... I don't know that we need to spend a lot of money on a big sidewalk over the water.

3. I'm not sure we need a pier at all. A cheap fishing pier could be built, but I'm not sure if the money saved can or would be returned to the taxpayers, or applied to another project, etc. While the new pier would apparently host a restaurant, this restaurant would be better located at at the base of the pier. The pier is too long for people to walk out to it.... the enjoyment of Beach Drive, Central Ave. IMHO is the ability to bar hop, or walk to get coffee/dessert after dinner, etc.

4. The "Stop the Lens" folks have failed in their argument in my opinion by not showing people a clear way forward. None of them have been able to articulate what the realistic options are if the Lens is scrapped.

5. The "Build the Lens" folks make a good point in that any proposed project is going to have controversy, and millions have been spent on this already. The budget does not allow for something like a Navy Pier in Chicago, so I'm really not sure what else could be done. So part of me says to just build the dang thing if it can truly operate w/o subsidies, and whoever wants to use it will use it.

6. I think this might be proof why government shouldn't get involved in spending our money on big projects. They thought they knew what they were doing with Baywalk and years later it is private ownership that is reviving it. However, this doesn't help me make a decision, unless #3 is an option.

At this point I'm leaning toward not even voting on this issue at all. It occurs to me that this isn't really a vote on a particular decision as much as it is a vote for (1) a specific outcome (build the Lens, which I'm not crazy about) or (2) an open-ended "nobody knows what the heck will happen option. I think that is the problem.

It would be like voting for President and the choices being:
(1) A specific candidate that you could possibly tolerate but don't really agree with,
(2) Not to elect any candidate, but to postpone and possibly do something else entirely, e.g. establish a Parliament to replace the presidency post-election

What do you guys think?
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Cleveland
296 posts, read 570,653 times
Reputation: 292
My building has a "don't build the pier" sign on it so I guess I know which way the owner stands. I really don't know enough about the situation, but the pier now is not a destination I frequent. The new (concepts) one looks like a perch for birds, no businesses on it - just a walk way?

Check it out St Petersburg Pier | Michael Maltzan Architecture
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Terra
2,826 posts, read 3,437,865 times
Reputation: 3346
The old pier is a dated design that's falling apart, the Lens is a terrible design now. Both keeping and building are horrific options for St. Pete.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 28,041,120 times
Reputation: 14611
The answer to the question is how much does St Pete want to establish itself as a up-and-coming city and bring tourist into its area. It looks like they're going to lose their baseball team. If the city wants to be a place people visit, that pier needs to be drastically improved or replaced.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:31 AM
BBI
 
490 posts, read 853,080 times
Reputation: 369
The way I see it, this is simply a squabble over design. The Lens people like the Lens design. The anti-Lens people think our pier needs to have an upside down pyramid on it. If the Lens is approved, it'll be built. If it's not approved, we'll build a new pier with an upside down pyramid on it, potentially preserving whatever parts of the existing structure can be preserved.

I'm indifferent as to those two results. The existing pier is ugly, the Lens is ugly, and probably some new upside down pyramid design will be ugly. We don't need a pier downtown at all, and the whole thing is a waste of money.

That said, I'm going to vote against the Lens on the chance I'm wrong and, if the Lens is rejected, maybe we'd do something valuable with the money. But I'm 99% certain this is just a design fight.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Treasure Island Fl
663 posts, read 1,004,098 times
Reputation: 859
I think we need a new pier, but I hate "The Lens". I think they could come up with a design that would actually become a destination, not an eye sore.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Any Beach/FL
25,762 posts, read 14,387,792 times
Reputation: 10579
Not in favor of the lens- looks dangerous to kids, or pets, new Ok but come up with better-It obstructs the view from afar too- maybe too high? just dont like the eyeball, but all in favor or a rebuild,.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:56 PM
 
15,876 posts, read 33,319,816 times
Reputation: 20131
I think it should be something in scale with the downtown, which the Lens is not - also should be more of a destination. Couldn't they have gotten a local architect to design it instead of some LA firm?? Ridiculous...
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
296 posts, read 570,653 times
Reputation: 292
I still don't get the lens... the lens idea does not involve businesses being open on the pier? Its more of just a picnic area?
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 18,709,404 times
Reputation: 5397
Didn't an engineer inspect the structure and stated that the caissons were structurally sound for possibly another 75 years?
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