In August’s primary, voters decided they did not want the Lens to be the future of the St. Petersburg Pier but that doesn't mean the issue is dead just yet.
The gates on the existing St. Petersburg Pier are still locked but many residents say they still want to see something happen with the structure. That's according to an exclusive poll by Bay News 9, Tampa Bay Times and WUSF Public Media.
Twenty-six percent of people say the pier is the most pressing issue that will face the city's mayor. They chose the pier over midtown development, public safety and the Rays stadium.
Bay News 9's political analysts Chris Ingram and Anna Cruz both believe the big issue because no one really knows what's going to happen.
“I would have to say the fact that they're talking about it as their number one issue suggests that they're pretty satisfied with how other things are going in the city under the stewardship of Mayor Foster," Ingram said.
"Regardless of how they feel about the current mayor, that makes sense that people aren't concerned with jobs and economy because they already feel the city is moving in the right direction,” Cruz said.
And now the mission for the next mayor is to find a way to move forward with the project.
We asked people "now that the Lens design for the pier's been rejected, what would they like to see happen next?
Only 31 percent of people want to restore the existing pier while 58 percent would rather have officials choose a new pier design within the previous $50 million project budget.
"The voters have spoken,” Cruz said. “They didn't have a say the first go around on what the pier should look like, the design, the architect and they're flexing their muscle now. They want to be able to say what the pier will look like in their community."
"Most people I think recognize that it's time for something new although the Lens itself was not the perfect design,” Ingram said.
Our exclusive Bay News 9, Tampa Bay Times and WUSF Public Media poll was conducted by Braun Research last week. Pollsters surveyed registered St. Petersburg voters by phone. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.
Now that St. Petersburg voters have rejected the Lens design for a new Pier, what would you like to see happen next? Would you prefer to:
|Have officials choose a new pier design after public input within the previous $50 million project budget||58%|
|Restore the existing pier at an estimated cost of $70 million
|Don't know/Not sure
What do you think is the single most pressing issue facing the next mayor of St. Petersburg? Is it:
|Building a new Pier
|Rays stadium negotiations||11%|