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First Pier workshop scheduled as presidential preference primary polls close

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

The first public workshop to discuss the Pier Approach is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. March 15 at USF St. Pete in the Student Center Ballroom.

There will not be a formal presentation by the design team, W-Architecture and the local firm Wannemacher-Jensen, but the team will provide a quick overview of initial concepts. From there the team wants to hear from residents.

The time was set later than most workshops to allow voters to get to the polls before heading to the workshop. It lands the same day as Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary. Designers are looking for resident input including unique ideas, priorities and even concerns.

Street parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional parking is also available in the USF parking garage across the street from the student center for $5.

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.

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 late this year.

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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