Some St. Pete residents prefer the current design to any of the three new proposals for the Pier

12/09/11 Andrea Lypka
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St. Petersburg city officials have selected the three finalists for a design that could replace the structurally deficient Pier. The public is torn between the three proposals, but many prefer the existing design.

Architectural renderings, videos and three-dimensional models of the three concepts are on display to the public at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. They’re being called the Lens, the Eye, and the Wave. James Parrish, the museum’s events director invites the public to vote and comment on the designs.

“If they choose the Wave and they have that long walkway, maybe you want to see more shade on the walkway, if you don’t tell them that, they are not going to know. And just because we pick a design, it doesn’t mean that every single part of it is finalized so we definitely want to get as many notes in. And also, each and every comment is public knowledge, it will be transcribed and each one will be read by all of the judges that will be judging it and very well could affect the decision. So you can help them choose which design we want in our city,” Parrish said.

The public can vote and comment by email or in person at the Museum of History or email.

“We are actually open extra hours so that you can view it after work on weekdays as well until 7, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and then till 9 on Wednesday,” Parrish said.

After reviewing the finalists at the museum, part-time resident Rita Legere prefers the existing inverted pyramid structure.

“The opinion I have is that I don’t like any of them, all three of them need a lot. I like the one that’s there. Maybe it’s because it is the only one I know, you know, I’ve been here for 6 or 7 years now. I like that one. Just fix it,” Legere said.

Legere lives in St. Petersburg and in Maine. She says she visits the Pier often.

“I like the way they have music on Sunday afternoons, you just pick up something to eat and sit out there to eat it,” he said. Paul Haltenberger has been visiting St. Petersburg for 20 years. He is now a permanent resident who rides his bike every day from the Old Southeast to the Pier.

“I guess my first initial question was why even change so much what we have and rather just upgrade what’s there. Some of the comments they’ve made were that the structure is not sound going through there and I am thinking, Gosh wouldn’t that be less expensive just to upgrade it, fix up the construction because I see they are going out just as far with the other units. So what they are doing, tearing down or using some of the old Pier? If they are using some of the old Pier then why not just fix what is there and upgrade what’s there now,” Haltenberger said.

Of the three new designs, Haltenberger likes the Eye.

“It is just so simplistic; it fits in with the seascape. So it looks like something that would belong on the beach,” Haltenberger said.

USF history instructor Carl Estenik has been visiting his grandparents in St. Petersburg since the 1950s and he has living here since 1980. He volunteers at the museum’s archives department near the Pier. Estenik says he would prefer the existing pier.

“I am not happy with any of them. This is just my personal opinion. I like the way it is right now, it is beautiful up here. I think if they would have spent some money renovating that we would have a fine attraction,” Estenik said.

“I am addicted, just a die-hard. I love, I like to fish. I enjoy my retirement that way,” Pappas said.

Clearwater resident Perry Pappas says he has been fishing occasionally on the Pier for 12 years. He has seen the proposals for the new pier but he says he does not understand them. “I am sorry to hear that they are going to tear it down. I wish there was a way they can fix it so that we can keep it,” he said.

Next Friday at the Coliseum the three design teams will present their concepts to the five-member jury selected by City Council to evaluate the proposals. City Council will approve a design in February after receiving rankings from the jury in January.

DVDs of each presentation can be checked out for a maximum of seven days at the Main Library, located at 3745 Ninth Ave. N. and all six branches beginning Tuesday, January 3. Branch locations are: Johnson Branch, 1059 18th Ave. S., 893-7113 Mirror Lake Library, 280 Fifth St. N., 893-7268 North Branch Library, 861 70th Ave. N., 893-7214 South Branch Library, 2300 Roy Hanna Drive S., 893-7244 West St. Petersburg Community Library, 6700 Eighth Ave. N.,341-7199 Childs Park Library, 691 43rd St. S., 893-7714

Here's previous WMNF News coverage of the St. Pete Pier

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