Tuesday, August 9, 2016

St. Pete Pier Park How much will the maintenance cost

Notably missing to me was any conversation about what this very large park will cost to maintain.

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

Last Thursdays Aug 4, 2016, Pier Approach Presentation to City Council went largely unnoticed by the local media. This was a concept presentation by W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, LLC for The Pier Approach Project

If you would like to see the detail, click the link above for the formal presentation graphics.  The well-spoken presenter used all of those key catch phrases architects use when they are presenting “concept” plans which is a technical term for throw stuff up on the wall and seeing what will stick.

The Goal of the Pier Approach Project:
Develop The Pier Approach, Unify The Pier District, Bring The City To The Water
Granted this is early in the process and the actual Pier Project team and the Pier Approach Project team are not really talking to one another yet so it would be difficult to even imagine where all of this may end up.

Prior to the City Council meeting one of the more controversial parts of the initial concept, a large restaurant in the Pelican Parking lot, had been pulled by the planners. Probably a good idea, but don’t count it out just yet.

The concepts as presented seem to indicate a large park area with many amenities, dedicated areas and lush landscaping.

Obviously many details are missing at this point and the next Council update in a couple of months should begin to put the flesh on the plans.

Notably missing to me was any conversation about what this very large park will cost to maintain. Nor did there seem to be any consideration at this point for using cost to maintain as a design criterion.

There are limited revenue generators in the Pier Approach Project Design and given the goals it is unlikely there will be few if any.

Given the Goals as stated and the importance of the new Pier as a “destination,” this park will need to be maintained in a near commercial theme park condition an expensive process.

Careful consideration of operating and maintenance costs for this park are a necessity.

St. Pete has one of the finest park systems anywhere and an award winning Parks and Recreation department.

The Kriseman administration cannot dump this new park and the New Pier on Parks and Recreation without some significant increase in budgeting. I think we are talking millions not just a few hundred thousand.

There will be significant capital equipment and human resource needs that should begin to be filled even as the planning and construction process gets underway.

This budget cycle is not too early to start.

Also of interest is how much, if any, staffing this park will require. There is talk in the concepts about an information center but will some of the other areas require attendants?

Finally, there is the issue of both day and nighttime security. The design can significantly add to this cost or reduce it.

These are some of the many issues that City Council must assure are part of the design planning so the City does not end up with a Park and Pier they cannot afford to operate.

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Contributor to: Bob Gualtieri for Pinellas County Sheriff
Contributor to: Carlos Beruff for US Senate

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