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St. Pete Pier: A look back

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The St. Petersburg Pier, considered a waterfront icon of the city, will be closing after May 31. 

Many residents of St. Pete have never known life without the Pier.  Here's a look back at the history of the structure and answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the city's plans.

Why is the Pier closing?

In short, the support structure is crumbling and will cost more to fix than to replace, according to the city.

"It does not make fiscal sense to continue spending money on an old and deteriorating structure like The Pier. The Pier approach (built in 1926) is deteriorating and will need to be replaced soon, a project that could account for a substantial part of the $50 million Pier replacement budget. The inverted Pier structure is functionally inefficient, and fails to meet current accessibility, wind and other common building codes."
LINK: http://www.stpete.org/thenewpier/

How old is the Pier?

The "inverted pyramid" part of the Pier opened in 1973.  But it's actually the fifth pier in city history.  The first was the Orange Belt Railway pier that opened in 1889 -- three years before St. Pete was incorporated as a city.

  • 1889: Orange Belt Railway Pier
  • 1906: Electric Pier
  • 1914: Municipal Pier
  • 1926: Million Dollar Pier
  • 1973: Inverted Pyramid Pier

Much of the current Pier's approach and underwater support structure dates back to the Million Dollar Pier, which is one of the reasons the city wants to replace it.

Will anything remain open?

The city plans to fence off the inverted pyramid after Friday, May 31, and eventually demolish it.  The approach will eventually be reopened to pedestrian traffic, including fishing, until it, too is demolished while the new structure is built.

What will replace the Pier?

The city held a competition for the Pier's replacement and selected 'The Lens,' designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, as the winner in January 2012.  The Lens is a radically different, much more open structure than the existing Pier.  But the designers say that it will include many of the same features, like shops, restaurants, and fishing spots.
LINK: http://www.thenewstpetepier.com/

What are all those "Stop the Lens" signs?

A citizens group has formed in opposition of the city's plans and they are working to gather signatures to demand a vote on the proposed replacement pier.  Those signatures are still being tabulated, but as of May 28, more than 11,000 had been verified by the Supervisor of Elections Office. It will take 15,652 to force a vote.
LINK: http://stopthelens.com/

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