St. Petersburg seeks public feedback on pier plans

Posted at 6:22 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 11:52:20-04

The St. Petersburg community is more than ready for the new pier downtown, but the groundbreaking has already been pushed back to mid-2017.

Now, the city is setting up meetings with people who live there and sending e-mail blasts to connect. But the pier's plans are still up in the air.

You may see videos popping up in your e-mail, covering the pier's history or construction schedule. They are attempts to reach the people living in St. Pete who have questions.

"What’s frustrating is not knowing what the final plan is, not knowing that there’s an actual hard, hard deadline, there’s a date that they’re actually going to stop and not all this going back and forth," Mike Richardson, who lives in St. Pete, said.

According the New St. Pete Pier website, design concepts are supposed to be finalized this summer, but that hasn't happened yet. Groundbreaking has already been pushed back.

City councilman Steve Kornell said, at the last pier meeting, that the plans were still changing, beyond what he expected with the construction process.

“Too many things were on the add/delete list, that I thought should have been part of the basic project and were kind of sold as part of the basic project," Kornell said.

With a $70 million budget, Kornell said features like the splash pad shouldn't be negotiable, or cost more.

“Find a way to make it work and also find a way to make it a complete project -- don’t put it out there as a half project and say this is what we could do, because that’s not what anybody told us," Kornell said.

Pier open house meetings with the public are planned to start in September. Kornell said council asked the design teams to sharpen their pencils and come back.

"The Pier design process included a careful evaluation of the original concept to ensure that it met the programmatic desires of the community and could be constructed within the City’s budget," Raul Quintana, city architect, said.

"The resulting design reflected a project that met both of these criteria, but in order to do so, several elements were identified for further evaluation as the design progressed," he said. "This is an ongoing process of listening to the public and making sure that the project can be permitted and constructed within the City’s budget. The City is currently working with our Construction Manager to evaluate the cost of the current set of plans and ensure that the project remains on budget."

The next update on the pier with all of city council is scheduled for October 6.