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St. Pete Pier to open in phases throughout 2020

Planning for the 4th of July already is underway.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Construction crews took a break on the first day of 2020 but soon will be back to work, scrambling to get the new St. Pete Pier substantially completed by December.

Earlier Wednesday, folks filled Vinoy Park snap photos of the new pier while enjoying their New Year’s holiday.

Steve Heckert, visiting with his mother, says it's been nearly six months since his last peek at the progress.

“It’s a big difference between what I saw last time and today,”  Heckert said. “For me, it's a place to visit a place to show your parents when they come and visit and walk and hopefully visit some stores and eat some great food.”

The entrance area to the pier, including 2nd Avenue NE, is still torn up and gated off as work continues through February.

But things are definitely starting to take shape along the entrance area. You'll start to see more and more of the pier's lighting, illuminating the project, at night.

And also coming this month, the massive $1.4 million, 428-foot-wide Janet Echelman net sculpture soon to soar over the pier.

Other buildings along the pier approach, including the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center and the new Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grill, are up with crews now working on the insides.

Renderings released by the city show what the final pier will look like from the pond area and picnic grove, to the tilted lawn, coastal thicket and overlook, there will be multiple distinctive areas to explore.

“It's a place to go,” Echelman said. “In addition to what you already have down here, this is what we live here for.  

"This is really going to take advantage of the outside, and I’m looking forward to that.” 

The pier will be opening in phases throughout 2020 with a celebration planned for the 4th of July.

RELATED: First vendors announced for St. Pete Pier as city decides if visitors can carry alcohol on the pier

RELATED: New video shows St. Pete Pier construction progress

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