Appoint community leaders for new pier

"Before taking office and with the cooperation of the outgoing mayor and city council, I will appoint community leaders who are well prepared to lead a thorough but expedited process."


Kriseman names his group later than expected

Rick Kriseman campaigned heavily on the fate of St. Petersburg's pier, which had been slated to be replaced before voters rejected the new design, known as the Lens, back in August.

An opponent of the Lens, Kriseman announced on his campaign website that he would appoint a group to explore solutions for replacing the city's icon. The group's work "will include a final round of public input," the site added.

Kriseman pledged to appoint the group before he took office on Jan. 2, almost two months after his Nov. 5, 2013 election, and said he would work with outgoing mayor Bill Foster and the city council. Kriseman said he would use the results of a citywide phone- and web-based survey in November that Foster supported to gauge what features city residents wanted in a new pier. Kriseman also met with the outgoing mayor several times before being sworn in to discuss pier issues, especially budget concerns. Kriseman regularly updated City Council members with his progress selecting community leaders for the group.

There was no public move to announce a task force on the pier until at least April 17, 2014.

Interim city development administrator Dave Metz announced at a meeting of the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association that Kriseman would be revealing his "working group," which would host public discussions over the following three months.

The list of 16 people on that group came on May 1, when Kriseman also announced the pier would not be replaced until 2017 -- two years later than he had promised.

The mayor's new Pier working group includes Ed Montanari, vice chairman of the former Pier Advisory Task Force; Jacqueline Dixon, dean of the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida; Lisa Wheeler-Brown, president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations; Barbara Readey, general manager of Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort; and Emily Elwyn, St. Petersburg Preservation president. (A full list of that group is here).

Kriseman later added five more members, including David Punzak, former chairman of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, and Angela Rouson, Juvenile Welfare Board and wife of state Rep. Darryl Rouson. (Those five are listed here).

That brought the total number of people on the group to 21. They were planning to meet soon to schedule the public meetings they're slated to host over the next three months.

Kriseman didn't keep to his self-imposed schedule of appointing a group before he took office, but he did finally assemble a group to discuss what the the replacement for the pier should include. We rate this a Compromise.


Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman, "Where I Stand: The Pier," December 2013 (archived version)

Tampa Bay Times, "St. Petersburg gauging residents to see what they want in new pier," Nov. 22, 2013

Tampa Bay Times, "New Pier group to gather feedback; another city clerk departs," April 18, 2014

Tampa Bay Times, "Kriseman announces plan for new or renovated St. Petersburg Pier," May 1, 2014

Tampa Bay Times, "St. Petersburg begins process of selecting new pier," May 11, 2014

Interview with Benjamin Kirby, Kriseman spokesman, May 13, 2014