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Pier Selection Committee dismissed by Rick Kriseman

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Pier Selection Committee charged with ranking design choices for a new St. Pete Pier has officially been relieved of its duties.

Mayor Rick Kriseman officially thanked and dismissed committee members during a meeting in his office Thursday afternoon.

The team ranked Pier Park at the top of its list during a meeting last month and St. Pete City Council subsequently approved that ranking and opened the door for Kriseman to begin negotiations with that design team.

Those negotiations are expected to wrap up by July with council approval of those terms set for July or August.

Should negotiations fail, the second ranked team, Destination St. Pete Pier, would be on deck followed by the design concept known as Alma.

Kriseman’s dismissal of the committee means that if a negotiation is not successful among any of the teams, a process would have to begin anew.

While the move was expected once City Council approved the committee’s recommendations, it’s not without concern.

Tension over the committee’s pick has led to a chorus of complaints from supporters of Destination St. Pete Pier. Groups have already rallied attempts to force a voter referendum that would kill the project.

The now defunct committee was comprised of St. Pete Public Works Administrator Mike Connors at the helm. Also on the committee were City of Tampa architect James Jackson Jr., Tampa Bay Rays vice president Melanie Lenz, director of the Pinellas County Economic Development department Michael Meidel, Associate Dean of the USF College of Marine Science Gary Mitchum and preservationist Kai Warren.

The city expects construction to begin on the new Pier in 2017 with the project completed in 2018.

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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