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Politics / Issues

The "Lens" Stays, No Referendum on New St. Petersburg Pier

The decision over replacing the iconic upside-down pyramid on St. Petersburg's waterfront won't go before the voters. The city council today voted down a plan for a referendum by a 6-2 vote. This came despite a petition that had more than 20,000 signatures from opponents of the plan to build "The Lens."

That plan would build a looping, figure-8 walkway out into the bay. Council member Charlie Gerdes summed up his vote this way:

"I cannot vote for a referendum question - which if passed - I would find fiscally irresponsible and could not support," he says.

Mayor Bill Foster says not having a referendum won't change his plans to keep moving ahead with plans to build a replacement for the 1970's-era St. Petersburg Pier, which engineers claim will soon become unusable because of crumbling concrete supports over the water.

"By the end of this month and early next month, we're going to have renderings of the top 10 reasons why all of us and all of these people in here are going to go out to the new St. Petersburg pier," Foster says, "and it's not a sidewalk to a gelato stand."

Foster says they'll get more information on possibly tweaking the design of the lens when the architect, Michael Maltzan, comes to St. Petersburg on Sept. 15.