Memorial Day marks the last holiday celebration for the St. Petersburg Pier
Sarina Fazan , Jacqueline Ingles
8:32 PM, May 27, 2013
11:30 PM, May 27, 2013
St. Petersburg - This Memorial Day marks the last holiday celebrated at one of the Bay areas most iconic structures, the St. Petersburg Pier.
It is set to be demolished in August and that is not sitting well with thousands of supporters.
"I feel so bad for all the people that invested their whole life, their savings, to be able to feed their family, provide for them, pay their mortgage and now they are not going to be able to do that," explained Wengay Newton, St. Pete City Council Member for District 7.
So, while they enjoy the Pier on this Monday plans are still in full force to keep it's doors open.
Nic Weathersbee opened his Global Candle Gallery more than twelve years ago. Come Friday, he's forced to shut his booth down also ending a dream.
"It's very sad for me and the Pier is the heart of the city," said Weathersbee.
But, he's trying to keep up his spirits. Hundreds stopped by his shop during this Memorial holiday giving him a bit of a boost. There's also a new petition Weathersbee is banking on. A group who doesn't approve the New Lens Design, a building that would replace the current Pier is close to the initiative onto the primary ballot in August If voters pass it, it could scrap the Lens project altogether.
"The whole Pier and everyone here is like family," said Weathersbee.
ACTION NEWS tried reaching out to many of the council members and Mayor Bill foster. Foster has pushed for the demolition and new design. Foster said he said he spent the day honoring soldiers and could address this issue tomorrow. But one council member had plenty to say, Wengay Newton, strongly opposes the New Lens design and said he will fight for business owners like Weathersbee.
"The pier is structurally sound until 2017 and the Mayor also said he will continue to allow people to fish. So why can't these merchants stay open until merchants vote on their fate?" questioned Newton.
And while thousands hope to keep the pier standing, thousands more wanted to make sure to be here in case it doesn't including Kevin May who drove here from Jacksonville.
"I helped lay down all this brick you see up and down the pier here," said May.
The Pier is a source of pride, May wanted to share with his daughter Cassandra. He said he was one of 20 bricklayers that worked on the project.
"I am very upset they are going to demolishing all of this," said May.
The nighttime fireworks also brought out Martin Febres. He told ABC Action News it was rough saying goodbye considering he has visited the Pier for the past 20 years.
"I come here to relax and to see the water," said Febres.
Febres was flanked by his mother Esperanza. She said whenever visitors would come to town she would show them the Pier and take them there for a drink.