Voters in Pinellas County get their say on what becomes of the St. Petersburg Pier on Tuesday

Voters will decide on lens design

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Voters in Pinellas County will cast a historic vote on Tuesday.  Three years after the St. Petersburg City Council voted to demolish the 40-year-old pier, voters will get to vote whether to move forward with the lens design or start the process over.

"We would like to see that the lens gets voted down," Fred Whaley with Stop The Pier said.


"We say no, don't cancel the contract," Build the Pier volunteer Orlando Acosta said. "Keep it going, keep St. Pete moving forward. Vote no."


Supporters and opponents of the lens spent the weekend trying to convince voters to go their way. They also answered questions people had about the pier. 


Volunteers with Build the Pier hit the streets and went door-to-door all day Saturday. "They have questions. What exactly is going on? We hear one side and hear the other, what are the facts? We present them to them," Orlando said.


On Sunday morning ABC Action News this morning featured a debate between both sides. 


"We're not really standing against or for the previous one or the current one, but the current lens doesn't have any function," Fred said.


"We do have a restaurant, we do have kayaking, you do have educational opportunities, you have lots of activities to do on the design itself, but the whole purpose of the design is to bring a community together, engage the water front and move along that way," Marcus Martin with Build the Pier said.


A concern many have is the wording of the question on the ballot. That's because voting yes, means you are voting no to the new lens design. Voting no means a vote of yes to the new design, and continue to move forward with the process. "Read it carefully and vote the way you wish," Fred said.


If voters do send a message to the city to cancel the contract for the lens then the process starts over. Those wanting to start over already have a plan in place. "Come up with about what we hope is 30 options, boil that down to 10. Choose those 10 and give them 15-thousand dollars to do a really good design, and then work with the community to see if we can find what really suits the community," Fred said.


Supporters of the lens say the design already suits the community and hopes voters see that as well. "Obviously we want to see the new pier built," Orlando said. "We think its followed the right process, been a very public process over the last several years."

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