The St. Petersburg City Council voted Thursday to begin preliminary construction on a new pier.
With the 7-1 decision, the council granted more than $17 million to Skanska USA, a Tampa-based construction company to start surveying and demolishing the old pier’s sea walls and steel beams.
The lone no vote was council member Steve Kornell. He said he had problems with the rising cost of the project, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The total cost of the new pier is expected to be just over $50 million, and the second of two installment payments of $17 million will be voted on at a later date.
Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin said this was an important vote.
“This is really a defining project that’s been a very long time coming,” Tomalin said. “On so many levels, we’re answering the question of what type of city we want to be.”
Discussions on the possibility of a new pier have been ongoing since 2009. Council members joked before the vote about just how long the wait had been. Member Jim Kennedy asked Ed Montanari how many hours he’d spent on committees and within the council devoted on pier discussions.
“I don’t even want to guess,” Montanari said.
Initial work on the new pier begins later this month.