Vote on the Future of the Pier Moves Forward
On Thursday, the City Council voted to hold a public hearing to come up with questions to put on the Nov. 6 presidential ballot regarding the future of the Pier.
After 20 months, a vote on the fate of St. Petersburg Pier appears to be heading toward the Nov. 6 presidential ballot.
On Thursday, the City Council voted 5-3 to hold a public hearing Aug. 2 to come up with questions to put on the ballot about the future of the inverted pyramid.
Council members Wengay Newton, Steve Kornell, Karl Nurse, Charlie Gerdes and Bill Dudley voted yes.
"It took me 20 months to get this dialogue," Newton said with a smile and a sigh.
"We have an obligation to put something on the ballot," Nurse said after the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections verified enough VoteOnThePier.com petitions.
The three council members who voted no were Jeff Danner, Leslie Curran and Jim Kennedy.
"Public involvement is good and there’s a point in time when you have to stand up and make decision," Kennedy said. "And I think we followed a good process and even though it would be nice to save the pier, it doesn’t do anything to the structural integrity of it and the deficit it continues to run."
Prior to Thursday's vote, City Attorney John Wolfe drafted sample questions and a title to ensure a public hearing could be held, but the actual questions that could appear on the ballot have not been finalized.
Council members will come up with the questions and then vote to put them on the ballot at the Aug. 2 public hearing. A workshop on the questions and legal concerns, council said, will more than likely be scheduled. No date has been set.
Wolfe said there is an urgency to get a decision on time to make sure that not only the questions get on the November ballot, but also that the wording of questions gets out to voters who vote by mail.
"Voting by mail is so prevalent now that you need to get them out," Wolfe said.
On Thursday, local architect Lisa Wannemacher made a presentation about updated and more specific design plans of the "Lens." She has been meeting with several organizations over the past week to give that presentation.
Should the public want to view that presentation, Mayor Bill Foster said the city would put it online and broadcast it on St. Pete TV.
"The presentation given by Lisa will be on the website and we'll edit it to where she stars and where she finished," Foster said. "And we'll put that on the TV station."
Stay with Patch for updates.