St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman wants new pier open in 2015

7:12 PM, Jan 6, 2014   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, FL - Ask Mayor Rick Kriseman when he'd like to see a new pier open and he'll tell you next year.

"I'm still going to say that's my goal," Kriseman reiterated on Monday.

But the new mayor also knows that's a longshot.

"Will we reach it? Most likely we won't, but if I don't set a goal, as I tell my kids, if you don't set a high bar for yourself then you'll never have a chance at reaching it. So let's set the bar high, hopefully we'll reach it or come close to it."

Kriseman's comments follow a transition team report for the mayor which calls for a replacement pier to open sometime in 2017.

"I don't want to see that happen. I want this thing done as quickly as we can so this is going to be a focus of my administration."

On Monday, Councilman Wengay Newton also voiced strong opposition to a timeline that runs into 2017.

"I think it's asinine to wait that long," Newton told 10 News.

He went on to suggest the city needs to consider holding another referendum on this issue. Newton said this time the public should be asked if they favor rehabbing the existing pier or building something new.

"It's a simple question, once and for all put that to bed if not you're going to go back to what you've been doing. You see what happens when you do that."

Kriseman confirmed on Monday that his budget for the pier remains $50 million, minus the money that has already been spent on the project which Newton says is about $5 million.

Asked if he would consider rehabbing the existing pier, including the iconic inverted pyramid, Kriseman said that is not something he's supported. But added, "I've also said if you think I'm wrong on this convince me otherwise."

After taking office last week, Kriseman reopened the area around the pier to pedestrian traffic, but the building itself remains closed. The building was ordered closed in May by former Mayor Bill Foster.


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