Updated 'Lens' Pier Design Presented
Lisa Wannemacher has been meeting with multiple community groups, and recently City Council, to give an updated presentation on the "Lens."
The most significant St. Petersburg Pier news last Thursday was City Council's 5-3 decision to possibly put the future of the pier up for a vote on the Nov. 6 presidential ballot.
However, local architect Lisa Wannemacher also made a big splash by presenting an updated and much more specific presentation about the "Lens".
The "Lens," is the design by Michael Maltzan Architecture currently slated to replace the existing inverted pyramid. It is the design that has received significant backlash, which the group VoteOnThePier.com said helped push its petition drive past its goal of collecting nearly 16,000 signatures to force a vote on the issue.
Wannemacher has been meeting with several organizations over the past few weeks to give that presentation.
Additional "Lens" Design Specifics Presented
- Shade breakout balconies along the walkway
- A small restaurant at the end of the pier
- A beer garden/event space
- New boardwalk out over the existing jetty with possible additional concession stands
- "Welcome Mat" at the Hub, which would be at the base of the pier approach, that could serve as an event space. Possibly host food truck rallies.
- Waterfront restaurant at the Hub, near Spa Beach.
"(We) listened to comments and advanced the conceptual idea ... trying to illustrate what there is to do out there," Wannemacher said.
The fate of the underwater garden/reef is still up in the air, according to Wannemacher. The oyster-bed cleansed reef design has been a point of contention with locals who argue that there is no making Tampa Bay waters clear.
"The goal at the underwater reef, is to create an attractive underwater design feature, highlight the estuary and engage the public, she said.
More meetings with ocean teams and marine scientists are planned to explore the "practical realities of such an element," Wannemacher said.
The City and the Pier: A Failure to Communicate?
Council members Leslie Curran and Jeff Danner, who voted against holding a pier referendum Thursday, said Wannemacher's presentation is exactly what the pubic needs to see and hear.
They said her presentation, which was more specific than the designs previously shown to the public, is proof that the city is following the process. The architecture teams received public input and feedback and altered the specifics as the time came into focus, Curran said.
While Mayor Bill Foster said Thursday that the city should honor the petitions collected and have a referendum, he also said the pier process to this point has worked. Wannemacher's presentation, he said, is proof of that.
"Can they build in shading, climate control, put a restaurant at the end," Foster said of the feed back from the public. "That’s what the people said they wanted. So the process is working."
Danner took issue with how the city communicated its plans for the pier since Council approved a contract with Maltzan in February until now.
Curran, who was the chair of the Pier jury that selected the "Lens", agreed.
"I said we are setting this up for failure," Curran added. "They were open mike sessions to say whatever you wanted without a clear dialogue."
"We should have been doing a better job," he said. "A lot of people asking the questions that are answered right here (in the presentation.)"
He said the four public input meetings on the "Lens" did not help the city's cause. The meetings, he said, lost focus from their purpose.
"If the object was to get input on the 'Lens' we did a horrible job of it," Danner said. "That was our responsibility and we dropped the ball on that one."
Foster said the passion of VoteOnThePier.com is not new and better communications would have not stopped their efforts.
"They’ve been working on that for two years," Foster said of the group trying to save the pier. "I respectfully disagree that if we had just marketed more and campaigned more and had more meetings, and roundtable discussions that somehow that was going to thwart their process."
On Aug. 2, the Council will hold a public hearing regarding the pier referendum. At that time the Council will also approve the multiple questions about the future of the pier, including the "Lens" design.