Stop the Lens supporters celebrate victory Tuesday night in St. Petersburg

11:09 PM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Volunteers with the Stop the Lens campaign celebrated Tuesday night's victory as voters rejected the city's plan to build an open air structure to replace the aging inverted pyramid.

"Here we are today, and the Lens has been voted down. You got your vote, thank you very much," said Fred Whaley, chairman for the Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg group.

RECAP: Results, reactions from St. Petersburg primary

Sixty-three percent of voters across the city voted "YES" to stop the Lens project. Many Stop the Lens supporters expected victory all along, but admit they were surprised by the strong message sent by voters.

POLL: What do you think the city should do when it comes to the pier?

"We just didn't know how high it would be. We were all hoping, hoping, hoping for 60 percent. That would have been a mandate, and we're over that. That's astounding," said Lorraine Margeson, a longtime Lens opponent who is running for city council.

Other Lens opponents were equally as thrilled.

"It's been there a long time," said Bud Karins. "There is no reason to demolish it. In fact, it should be open today."

"If we're going to lose our beloved pier, we need to lose it to something better than a 12-foot sidewalk," said Carol Gray.

The city and voters must now come together to decide what to do next. Organizers here have already set up a telephone voting system and hope to work with the 8/28 Alliance to decide on how to proceed with St. Pete's waterfront.

To register your thoughts with you can call 727-944-1044.

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