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Pier Park vs. Inverted Pyramid = War and dock voyages to Mexico

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Pier debate seemed to go quiet after City Council voted to approve Pier Park as the top choice for a new Pier in May. Opponents of Pier Park (or anything not of the inverted pyramid variety) kept rolling with a petition effort to kill the whole shebang, but they kept under the radar.

Tom Lambdon, the guy behind Vote on the Pier attempting to derail Pier Park and successful in knocking off the 2013 Lens project, explained why to the Tampa Bay Times.

“When you are at war with someone, you don’t show them your cards.”

Sh*t just got real. This is WAR!

It’s not surprising such harsh words would be used to describe the flaming passion behind folks who want to kill Pier Park with the same animosity the Lens fell victim. Heck, it’s actually a bit nicer. Some of these folks are the same ones who called this reporter a “C-U-Next Tuesday” and another, Kate Bradshaw from Creative Loafing, a “tool.”

It’s a nasty battle and not without merit. A nearly $50 million, 75-year project is at stake. A more than 40-year-old building could soon be crumbling into ruin.

To prevent such a travesty to St. Petersburg history, Lambdon and his cohorts are asking supporters of their brand of war to sign a petition forcing the city to go to voters every time they want to build or demolish something on the downtown waterfront.

Holy stifling progress Batman!

Now they want St. Pete City Council to reject a contract with ASD/Rogers Partners architects, and others, to complete the design process. That same vote Thursday would also approve a contract to demolish the beloved inverted pyramid.

If City Council doesn’t do that, opponents have warned the city stands to lose millions yet again. The $4 million spent during the Lens process was sunk after voters tanked the design at the ballot box.

There is, of course, another way to ensure that doesn’t happen again. In the words of our fearless Mayor Rick Kriseman, that would be to just “build a damn Pier.”

But this way is more fun.

In the meantime, even some who have swallowed the bitter Pier Park pill are voicing concerns. Longtime Pier activist Bud Risser told the Times “we’re very concerned with the viability of the idea of having all these floating docks, where people can fall in and float to Mexico.”

If Donald Trump had his way that would be a good thing, not a bad one. So long as they only carried all the illegals back to their homes.

In any case, we now have a Pier debate that went from eerily silent to battles of war and tourists being carried off to Mexico on botched docks.

Hold on to your socks, folks. This is going to be one helluva ride!

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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