It is the first Fourth of July the iconic Pier in St. Petersburg is not open for the festivities

ST. PETERSBURG, Fl - It is the first Fourth of July the iconic Pier in downtown St. Petersburg is closed.

Crystal Morris couldn't help but stare at the dark inverted triangle as she set up her chairs to take in the fireworks. 

"Don't have the festivities, the concerts, you can't go into the shops or anything," said Morris.  "Really, it is not very good."

With three kids in tow, this mother had to find other ways to entertain her little ones.  Only with the heavy rainfall, it didn't work.  The family spent most of the afternoon sitting in the soaked grass with there red, white and blue umbrellas.

A staple in the Bay area since 1973, the Pier closed its doors for good on May 31.  St. Pete officials are applying for a permit to demolish the Pier by August. 

The iconic Pier has been at the center of an explosive battle between some city leaders who want a new design-called the Lens--to replaced it and residents who want the Pier left alone.

Even though the controversy reached a boiling point, Ariel Rubin, a cook, isn't bothered by it.

"Yeah, I don't even notice it [the Pier]," explained Rubin as she juggled making fried dough and chicken strips.  "I am too busy working."

Rubin, who is working a food kiosk in North Straub Park like she's done on previous Independence Days, believes with the restaurants at the Pier not up and running, she will see more customers spending cash at her stand.

Only for large families like Morris has, the prices the Pier offered are missed.

"There is like places to eat there and stuff that are a lot cheaper than a lot of the other restaurants around here," Morris said.

One family of four reportedly spent $40 on street food.

Still, without the Pier, there was plenty to keep the youngsters busy.

Street performers jumped through hoops while other kids blew gigantic bubbles.  And for most of the children, they don't know much about the Pier or its history, they are just focused on fireworks.

 

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