Almost from the beginning there were concerns about the process that led us to the "Lens".
The Visioning process was announced as an open process for citizen review but was carefully managed by those with a preset vision: Replace the Pier with iconic art.
The input from the public meetings was carefully massaged into ever more focused talking points through the process. Art overtook form and function. The final decision was made not by the people but by outsiders.
The "Lens" is not a new Pier, in fact it is not a Pier at all. It is piece of art too big to build on land stuck in the water, essentially a $50 to $150 million jogging track and pelican roost.
Questions continue to surface. Below is an email I received regarding the process from Kenneth Kroger, who is an advocate of VoteOnThePier.com and a local architect.
FROM A SUPPORTER OF HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY FROM OUR CITY GOVERNMENT.
The City of St. Petersburg should have complete transparency regarding the cost of renovation of the existing pier and produce a document to support their bold assertions that it would be too expensive. Their claim, that the cost would be $85 million - $90 Million to renovate the pier, should be fully vetted by local construction professionals. In a court of law, this is the only group with the capacity to express a legal opinion regarding the accuracy of the information. This conversation is not being held to that standard of legal veracity and is being played out in the court of public opinion with a good deal of “Political Speak.”
Where is the documentation and substantiation of the cost to renovate the pier? Their numbers should come from bids from private sector contractors with a detailed cost analysis in the documentation. We are hearing the opinions of government officials who are subjected to the political force of their elected bosses. Their opinions are not creditable evidence of facts and would not hold water in a court of law.
“The Wave” submission in the competition was budgeted at $50 Million and it included a new pier approach, and new building structure. The estimate was prepared by Robert Kaupp of CC&A, one of the most credible sources of preliminary estimating for the architectural community in the Tampa Bay Area. CC&A has the Curriculum Vitae in the courts and integrity on local construction cost. They are a credible source of what it will take to replace the pier. It would be cost effective to have Robert’s opinion on the renovation expense.
The Newspaper and City Officials claim to better understand the methods and comparisons in construction estimating then our local construction professionals. They do not examine a detailed estimate with any rigor and they are easily deceived by the rhetoric.
It is interesting that the reporters can explore the facts and newspaper editors no longer have journalistic integrity to report the facts. They are tending toward political speak to support an agenda, regardless of the communities wish for an open dialogue and the right to democratically decide on an issue. Ultimately, it is the taxpayers who will guarantee this expenditure, and this is where representation is fundamental in this country.
Vote on the pier!
Kenneth P. Kroger
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