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ICYMI: Rick Kriseman delivers new St. Pete Pier update

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

This year isn’t expected to be a very exciting one for St. Pete’s new Pier. That’s according to Mayor Rick Kriseman, who, in a video released Friday, thanked residents and visitors for their patience while plans continue to unfold.

He described a process for 2016 full of red tape and behind the scenes bore that will likely leave residents wondering what in the world is going on.

The inverted pyramid is razed and from an onlooker’s perspective, not much is happening. But Kriseman reminds this year is an important one.

“Today the design team is actively working on concepts that are being refined and developed,” Kriseman said. “We are waiting on bond financing and city council’s approval of the next level of funding, which will take place sometime over the next few months.”

Kriseman and mayors who came before him fought criticism surrounding the Pier. Most of that, including the effort that led to the demise of the Lens in 2013, stemmed from a love of the inverted pyramid. Now that that’s gone, critics have quieted who once boomed with objection.

Despite the lack of noise, Kriseman’s seeming favoritism of demolishing the inverted pyramid has earned him a small bunch of critics determined to see him unseated.

Whether or not they’re behind Kriseman’s constant reassurance isn’t clear, but he’s wise to stay ahead of the fray.

“We remain committed to stay within budget. And we will honor the programming requested by our residents,” Kriseman said. “From the beginning we said form would follow function and function would become the core value for the new pier. These values continue to guide our way.”

The city is expected to soon complete the schematic design for the new Pier; select a Pier operator, which is close to completion; choose a restaurant for the above-water space; and present the final schematic design to City Council for approval.

Sometime this spring, the city is expected to complete the Pier’s design development phase.

“Bringing on an architect to design the pier approach will provide another forum for community engagement as all aspects become integrated for a seamless experience connecting downtown to the pier district,” Kriseman said of the ancillary Pier approach project that begins its design phase this year.

The city expects construction documents for the new Pier to be completed this fall.

“So, while you don’t see a lot of activity at the pier, we have a plateful of activity going on about the pier with more on the way,” Kriseman said. “The process is long and complex.”

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 Patch.com 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 janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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