Saturday, December 3, 2011
The Pier - Decision Time
There are plenty of comments out there about the proposed new Pier designs. Mine probably wouldn't add much. What we do need to think about now is the process and the impact.
The designs are interesting. It is notable to me that there is not a firm Florida, one that might actually understand our community and environment, that could design the new Pier. I guess they're just not "artsy" enough.
This is a big decision for St. Petersburg. If you haven't noticed, things are not going all that well. The news paper is abandoning the City as a name sake, like it or not it is probably just a matter of time before major league baseball takes their game elsewhere and we were just awarded the dubious distinction of being one of the saddest Cities in the nation.
There are a lot of questions to be asked and answered before the City commits to a project of this scale and impact. There is a fine line between artful attraction and something that becomes a eyesore.
The last thing we need is new Pier that becomes a laughing point, object of bad jokes, or that ultimately ends up on Spa Beach as a tangled mess when the hurricane finally gets here.
We may have been a bit too preoccupied with touting St. Pete as an "ART DESTINATION". I enjoy molded glass and the occasional clock dripping off the edge of a table, but something that is inordinately expensive to build, exorbitantly costly to insure and maintain, that most visitors stand on the shore and laugh at is not where we need to go.
Fifty million is the opening price. That is nowhere near what the final price tag will be if it is anything like the Dome and the International Museum projects.
Add to all of that the effort to prevent the people from actually having an opportunity to vote on what is done at the Pier and you have the makings of a real disaster.
From my perspective the Arts Council, the Chamber of Commerce and a few well connected downtown players have way to much say in this whole process. They don't want you to be able to vote because they know how it will go.
What does West St. Pete get out of this other than a bigger tax bill?
After a long time in the City Administration, I finally figured out the people got it right a lot more often than we did.
The public needs to push hard for a Pier Referendum.