Anthony Sullivan: 'Lens' Supporters Need to Speak Up
Sullivan said the "Lens" can be an iconic landmark for the entire region, similar to the Arch in St. Louis.
Anthony Sullivan, the national TV pitchman for products such as OxiClean, wants you to speak up about the "Lens".
The Tampa Bay area resident recently hit up one of his favorite things to do in St. Petersburg, the Saturday Morning Market. There he saw people with red shirts getting people to sign a petition to "Stop the Lens." The "Lens" is the design slated to replace the St. Petersburg Pier.
Sullivan saw the shirts and became angry. No one, he said, was speaking up in favor of the "Lens".
"Honestly it was a call for action," Sullivan said of "Lens" protesters. "The lens needs a voice and seemingly no one involved directly in the project were promoting it.
Two days ago Sullivan launched a Facebook page and Twitter account, WOW Our Waterfront St. Pete. Sullivan said no one affiliated with the city or Michael Maltzan Architecture, the firm who designed the "Lens", has hired him or asked him to support the "Lens".
"My goal right now, even (though) some residents and people are very angry at me, I just want to be a positive voice for the 'Lens'," Sullivan said in an interview with Patch. "It’s only my opinion. It’s a lot better than what’s there now."
On the page, Sullivan has been posting iconic structures — St. Louis Arch, Sydney Opera House, Seattle Space Needle, the London Eye — from around the world that he said were not all received warmly at the beginning and took a vision to be created.
Sullivan said despite what his newfound critics say, he is not against a public vote on the issue, he is just pro "Lens". He cannot force the city to hold a referendum, he said.
"Anything new always has detractors or haters," he said. "I think St. Petersburg needs a shot in the arm. It’s been getting some really good shorts in the arm (lately) and this could be the icing on the cake."
Sullivan said if you support the "Lens" now is the time to say so.
"If you like the 'Lens' speak up," Sullivan said. "Don't let it be steamrolled over. People seem to think I’m anti-democracy. I would just like people who like of the idea of the 'Lens' to come out, speak up and get into conservation."