The future of the new St. Pete Pier moves to phase two

More than 2,500 ideas submitted for new pier

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Phase one is down, now phase two is full steam ahead.

Phase two means residents are getting a better look at what the future holds and what you might see in the new design of The Pier in St. Petersburg.

"They want to make sure they're able to go out and walk on the pier, bike ride, they want to have access to park their boats along the pier," said Peter Clark, Chairman of the pier working panel.

Shopping, dining, recreation, transportation and an aquarium rank highest when it comes to what people want to see with the new designs.  

Since rebooting the project, a 21-member panel of local citizens have poured through more than 2,500 ideas from the public. They'll now be submitting those ideas in a final report next week.

"It’s a very limited amount of dollars when you want to do something as iconic as we're hoping for along the water front," said Clark referring to the big visions on a $47 million budget.

Clark said during phase two, the report will take the top suggestions and put them into more detail.  For example, one recommendation looks to add a marine discovery center which would educate visitors on ocean science and the local estuary.

The report will also describe options for observation and viewing areas, upscale and casual dining, and lay out possible plans for picnic areas, walking paths and flexible event space.

"Now it’s up to the design teams to take those important elements and see what we can afford out there on the waterfront," said Clark.

Fishing enthusiast have spoken loudly as well, with plans that may even include an artificial reef.

"They're going to be able to look at some of these initial designs that take the feedback from the pier working group and incorporate it, and afflictively say if it’s feasible, or not," said city spokesman Ben Kirby.

Kirby said the companies will submit initial designs based on public feedback in a competition like format.  

Designs designated to move forward will receive an additional $30,000 stipend to develop their concept further. He added each design must be developed with green technology and provide local jobs.

Clark added, whatever design is chosen, one thing is for sure:  "It must be iconic in order for people to get their arms around it and truly appreciate the resource we have and call home."

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