St. Pete Pier design proposal: "The Lens" by Michael Maltzan Architecture (image courtesy City of St. Petersburg)
St. Petersburg, Florida-- The Lens. It's the proposed high-style pier to replace the current and aging St. Pete Pier. Should it be built?
The opinions are as varied as the people we asked, and that's what St. Petersburg city councilman Wengay Newton is concerned about.
"I want the people to decide," says Newton.
Newton has been a vocal critic of the Lens since day one, and is pushing for a referendum on the November ballot armed with 16,000 signatures on a petition to force that.
Newton showed 10 News a June telephone poll of 300 likely St. Petersburg voters that revealed the Lens isn't very popular.
Question #7 on the poll asks, "Do you approve or disapprove of the proposal known as the Lens?"
21 percent said they approve, and 64 percent said they didn't.
Question #8 asks, "If you knew that the city would have to borrow 50 million dollars to build the Lens, would you approve or disapprove?"
The numbers are ever worse. A mere 15 percent approved. 77 percent didn't.
If the required signatures of 10 percent of registered voters is verified by the supervisor of elections, the city council could vote on it as early as July 19.
The council could agree to send the issue to the ballot or vote it down. The council is not obligated to force a vote.
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster refused to comment on the issue, saying it's premature. He wants to reserve comment until a decision is made by the council.