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St. Pete Pier celebration scheduled for Friday

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman will celebrate the St. Petersburg Pier this Friday along the Pier approach. Kriseman plans on “honoring the past while pursuing the future.”

The event will include free commemorative brick pavers on a first come, first served basis, children’s activities including the Great Explorations Children’s Museum and a “memory station” where attendees can write and display memories or record them with St. Pete TV. The recorded interviews will air later on St. Pete TV.

The event runs from 5-7 p.m. just east of the Museum of History. Kriseman and Museum of History executive director Rui Farias will give remarks around 6.

It’s likely the celebration won’t be all sunshine and rainbows. Supporters of preserving the inverted pyramid are furious this week now that demolition has officially begun.

The wrecking ball is out in anticipation of a new Pier, Pier Park, by 2018. But trouble could lie ahead for Kriseman’s plans. A petition effort is still underway to ask voters whether or not they should have a say in downtown waterfront construction or demolition projects.

According to the man behind the petition, Tom Lambdon, such a referendum could mean voters get the chance to cancel the contract with architects to build Pier Park. The threat is reminiscent of 2013 when voters overwhelmingly voted to reject the Lens.

Lambdon said demolishing the Pier is a waste of a more than $20 million asset.

So while some may celebrate along with Mayor Kriseman, there may be others there in mourning.

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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