St. Petersburg, Florida -- Surveys show residents want a walkable St. Petersburg Pier that is accessible by bicycles and boats, in addition to air conditioned restaurants and an education center.
Two thousand, four hundred public surveys have been reviewed by the city's Pier Working Group, a 21-member team that Mayor Rick Kriseman assembled.
"We have had a tremendous response," said Peter Clark, chairman of the group
Clark co-organized five public forums for people to voice their wishes for the pier. He has been allotted $47 million to rebuild he pier, and that includes both the foundation demolition -- if necessary -- and the new structure.
"What we have heard from the community is they want to make sure they can walk on the pier, bike ride they want access to park their boats alongside the pier," Clark said.
Voters also want air-conditioned restaurants, more recreation options, both for the land and the water, and a Tampa Bay education center.
"One of the big recommendations was that there was a marine discovery center," said Clark. "It's important that we educate them on the Tampa Bay estuary and the Gulf of Mexico."
While one option is to keep the inverted pyramid, the approach that goes all the way out to the pier must go: It's too old and that means it will disappear for a while until the city decides what is next.
"No matter what, those approach pilings will need to be replaced," Clark said. "That will help drive what type of access what type of access they will have in the pier."
One thing is for certain though, whatever design is chosen from the public's input it must be something the city can be proud of.
"It must be iconic in order for people to get their arms around and truly appreciate the resource we have and call home," Clark said.