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St. Petersburg, Florida -- A whole new way to plan the St. Pete Pier is kicking off today.

Surveys and meetings are finally being set up by a panel that's getting input from the public on what features and amenities are wanted in the new pier.

A lack of public input is the area that's caused so much concern in the pier process before.

Just like the pyramid of the existing pier, this group is turning the planning for the new pier upside down.

The Lens pier design shot down by voters last year was picked by just five people. That five-person panel chose the design with a plan to figure out features and amenities later, and add them in.

The panel that met Wednesday is planning the opposite. The members want to get thousands of people to give their thoughts, first, on the amenities that should be in the new pier.

Surveys and meetings are finally being set up by a panel that's getting input from the public on what features and amenities are wanted in the new St. Petersburg pier. WTSP

Peter Clark, a volunteer and chairman on the 2014 Pier Working Group, was asked why the revised pier process was going to be different this time.

"Last time, there was a public process. But I think, right now, what we want to do is put the public process at the front end," Clark said.

How will the public give their input? They can speak in meetings, fill out surveys, and email in ideas. The group is also going to try to reach out to tourists to find out what they want to see.

Then, a panel of about two dozen people -- called the Pier Working Group -- will finalize a list of features.

The list will go out to architects, who can come up with a design that does what the people are asking for.

A questionnaire where people can rank their favorite features will be part of the five public meetings the group has now planned.

Click here to get an up-close look at the latest draft version of that survey questionnaire.

The meetings will be held over several weeks and held in different parts of the city, including the Coliseum, and several recreation centers: Roberts, Lake Vista, J.W. Cate and Childs.

Only the first meeting is scheduled. It will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. June 19 at the at the Childs Park Recreation Center, 4301 13th Ave. S.

For updates on the other upcoming meetings, once their times and dates are set, check the city's New St. Petersburg Pier website.

Here are the dates and times to more upcoming public meetings:

  • Thursday, June 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Childs Park Recreation Center, 4301 13th Avenue S.
  • Tuesday, June 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Avenue N.
  • Thursday, June 26 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Roberts Recreation Center, 1246 50th Ave. N.
  • Monday, June 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Lake Vista Recreation Center, 1401 62nd Ave. S.
  • Wednesday, July 2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at J.W. Cate Recreation Center. 5801 22nd Ave. N.

Also beginning June 19, those who are unable to attend one of the sessions may complete the questionnaire online at www.stpete.org/piersurvey and submit any comments to the Working Group.

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