Rick Kriseman to make major announcement on St. Pete Pier tomorrow

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St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman will make a major announcement on Thursday about the future of the St. Petersburg Pier.

The press conference, which is open to the public, is at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 1 in Spa Beach Park, 615 2nd Ave. NE, at the St. Pete waterfront.

It has been nearly a year since May 31, when former Mayor Bill Foster shuttered the approach to the Pier as the first step in an expected demolition process. However, the city’s plan for the Pier’s replacement – the abstract Lens project — fell through when it was voted down in an August referendum. Many people blamed Foster’s closing the landmark prematurely for his ouster as mayor last November.

During the campaign, Kriseman vowed the city could have a replacement built by the end of 2015. Several members of his administration are a bit more cautious, calling for submission of new proposals beginning in March 2015, with a possible reopening sometime in 2017.

In his inauguration speech in January, Kriseman promised he would “begin the process of removing that unfriendly fence,” allowing the pedestrians to “walk, run and fish” off the landing around the inverted pyramid. Almost immediately, the fence that had been closing off the Pier came down and replaced with signs saying, “Pedestrian access only, Pier building closed.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.