ST. PETERSBURG - The supporters and opponents of the planned replacement for the St. Petersburg Pier dubbed "The Lens" are clear on their positions, but the wording of the ballot had many voters like Ned Nather confused.
"You have to read it more than once to understand it and give the right answer" said Nather who wants officials to scrap the lens and find something better.
Joan O'Halloran figures some people will make a mistake but hopes they make it in the right direction. She's already voted 'no' on the ballot measure which is a vote of support for the Lens.
CLICK THE VIDEO TO SEE BOTH SIDES OF THE LENS ISSUE AND FOR CLARIFICATION OF THE BALLOT WORDING.
The confusion stems from the fact that a "yes" vote is really saying "no" to the new Lens pier design by effectively cancelling the contract with the firm heading up the project.
The "Stop the Lens" faction has had to add bumper stickers to their posters that make it clear to vote yes if you want that to happen.
"We need to have an entertainment venue for the families of St. Petersburg to take their families and enjoy and we don't have that" said Fred Whaley, Chairman of the group urging a "yes" vote on the measure to stop the Lens.
Whaley calls it a non-functional piece of art. But the group campaigning to save the Lens says they make no apologies for the artistic aspects of the pier design and say it has more features than the existing inverted pyramid.
Anybody's who's looked at this project closely with open eyes and open heart realizes it's extremely functional" said pro Lens activist and real estate , Marcus Martin.
Martin says the design will have full service restaurants, an amphitheater and slips for boats and kayaks that don't exist now.
Lisa Wannemacher, One of the architects on the Lens project says the design took into account the preferences of thousands of St. Petersburg residents who opined on several different design options.
"You may not think that the new design for the pier is perfect, but do you dislike it enough to start the whole process over again and start at square one with the design? asked Wannemacher.
For the anti-lens crowd the answer is yes:
"If there'd been a fourth choice- none of the above, that is what would have won and that's actually what's going to win if we get the people out to vote" said Whaley.
Election day is Tuesday August 27.
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