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First Pier Approach public workshop scheduled for same day as Presidential Preference Primary

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

It’s been a while since much has happened in the Pier debacle. The inverted pyramid has been gone for months and design teams and the city are working behind the scenes to finalize details on the new Pier.

Those designers are about to come out from behind the curtain.

On March 15th, the team working on the Pier Approach – not the Pier itself – will meet with members of the public to discuss that portion of the project. The public forum will be at the USF St. Pete Student Center in the ballroom at 6:30 p.m.

That’s the same day as the Presidential Preference Primary, which could diminish attendance.

The Pier Approach project is aimed at bridging the Pier and downtown with a seamless transition. It’s expected to include a grand entryway to the Pier, an art promenade and complete streets making it accessible and welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists as well as vehicles.

The city selected W Architecture along with the local architecture firm Wannemacher Jensen and New York Landscape Architecture for the Pier Approach project last October. That’s the same team that lost the bid to build the new Pier. There design, Destination St. Pete Pier, was chosen as the public favorite in a poorly participated in public survey, but lost to “Pier Park,” which it is no longer being called, during the selection process.

Designers for the new Pier, ASD Architects and Rogers Partners, are expected to complete the schematic design for the pier sometime this month or next with that design heading to City Council for approval sometime next month.

The public will have an opportunity to speak during public forum at that meeting, though it has not yet been scheduled.

The entire design development phase is expected to be complete sometime in late Spring and permitting and construction documents should be ready in the Summer or Fall. Groundbreaking for the new Pier is expected sometime in late 2016.

The new Pier is expected to be complete in the Summer of 2018 with opening slated for that Fall. The city plans to have both the Pier and Pier Approach timelines in sync.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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