After some controversy, the St. Petersburg Pier is being demolished today. Known fondly as “The Pier”, the iconic 42-year-old pier is being taken down after approval from the city. At 5:00 pm, the public can attend the Celebrating the St. Petersburg Pier in honor of the pier’s long history but also for a new project known as Pursuing the Future.
Mayor Rick Kriseman will offer a brief presentation at 6:00 pm and in recognition of their hard work, a beautiful etched glass block from the Pier will be presented to various members of the city council and the Pier Selection committee.
For attendees of the event, brick pavers also from the Pier specially stamped with an image of the inverted pyramid will be handed out. In addition to this, 250 pavers will be given to the public, although this will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Citizens of St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay will also receive postcards of the pier that depict in print the original watercolor created by Milton Howarth.
The Pier has been a tourist destination and landmark for over four decades. Extending into the downtown area of Tampa Bay from the downtown St. Petersburg, the Pier is comprised of a pyramid-shaped building that reaches five stories high. Designed by William B. Harvard, Sr., a top architect from St. Petersburg, the Pier was constructed in 1973.
Leading up to today’s event, the city hosted a number of sights and activities that encompassed boat rentals, fishing, dining, shopping, weekly festivals, nightlife, and of course, the popular Pier Aquarium, which is located on the second floor of the building.
Recommendation to demolish the Pier came as the result of a five to three vote back in August of 2010. Although the decision tore at the heartstrings of many, erection of a new pier was approved. Receiving a unanimous vote in January 2012, Michael Maltan Architecture’s vision called “The Lens” was approved as the new design but with a lot of unhappy St. Petersburg residents, it was cancelled in 2013.
In place of “The Lens”, final approval was granted for “Pier Park”. This project will include a 1,380 foot interactive experience where visitors can choose the exact type of experience wanted. There will also be a number of activity and exploration areas running along the pier for people of all ages to enjoy. The ultimate goal is to provide visitors with not one destination while on the pier but a collection.