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Survey reveals favorite pier design

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The design favored to replace the current pier is “Destination St. Pete Pier.” It retains the iconic inverted pyramid design of the current pier.
The design favored to replace the current pier is “Destination St. Pete Pier.” It retains the iconic inverted pyramid design of the current pier.

The city of St. Petersburg is one step closer to knowing what will replace the iconic inverted pyramid adorning its waterfront.

An online public survey closed its voting on March 6 and, of the seven designs to choose from, three received the most votes.

“Destination St. Pete Pier,” the design which has a huge hometown following, garnered the most votes with 10,751 clicks. “Pier Park” came in at second place with 6,811 votes, and “Blue Pier” came in third with 4,728 ballots cast. The results of the online survey were made public on March 9.

Designed by the St. Pete Design Group, “Destination St. Pete Pier” retains the inverted pyramid design.

Of the 229,780 residents who call St. Petersburg home, only about 4 percent took the time to make their voices heard in the ongoing pier debate. Even from the 22,290 votes collected, only 13,005 of those voters could be verified as actual St. Petersburg residents.

While the survey is valuable to St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman and his six-member selection committee, it hardly guarantees which design will take the current pier’s place and the $46 million budget assigned to the project.

“The key to this process has always been transparency,” Kriseman said in a prepared statement released with the survey results. “That is why it was important to take the pulse of the community and hear their voice.”

The selection committee’s final rankings are set to be revealed on March 20, followed by the city council’s approval of those rankings. To continue the arduous process, the top three designs will then be compared to determine which of the three will be the best bet for the city in the long run.

According to the website, www.newstpetepier.com, the final contract approval will be made public in late May or early June.

The current pier, the iconic inverted pyramid, was constructed in 1973, and its doors remained open until May 31, 2013. The city council voted to close the pier in 2010 due to concerns with aging support structures, which were deemed by many to be too costly to repair.

In a voter referendum on Aug. 27, 2013, residents chose to terminate the city’s current contract to tear down the pier and replace it with “The Lens,” a design that polarized the residents of the city.

The first pier of St. Petersburg was established in 1889 by The Orange Belt Railway. In 1906, the railroad pier was replaced with the Electric Pier, which extended the existing structure 3,000 feet into Tampa Bay.

After eight years, in 1914, the Electric Pier was once again replaced with the Municipal Pier. A massive hurricane in 1921 all but destroyed the Municipal Pier, prompting the city council to allocate $1 million for a new pier. In 1926, the Million Dollar Pier was dedicated and opened for business. The Million Dollar Pier held the site until 1967 when it was demolished.

“I look forward to the next steps as we plan for a new St. Petersburg Pier,” said Kriseman in his statement. With the small, yet optimistic, response to the new designs for the pier, St. Petersburg may soon have its sixth pier in one of the seven designs placed before the six-member selection committee.

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