A 14-year process to replace the St. Pete Pier is drawing to a close.
The new Pier is set to open “soon,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman in his State of the City address Saturday morning at The Palladium.
The address — a wide ranging review of both accomplishments and goals ahead — coincided with the unveiling of a new logo for the Pier that Kriseman called “sustainable.”
“It is timeless, not trendy. It is an illustration of our vision for the Pier — sophisticated, yet accessible. It will complement, not compete, with the environment and vibrant colors of the Pier District,” he said.
See more on the video below.
Work to replace the Pier began when Kriseman was chairman of the City Council in 2005, and the cost has risen from an original projection of $50 million to about $80 million.
“But the most important thing about this new Pier isn’t the budget or the timeline, both of which are subject to so many variables. The most important thing is getting it right, ensuring that residents and visitors, young and old, rich and poor, are drawn to it like a beacon, ensuring that the focal point of our city’s postcard makes up proud for generations to come,” Kriseman said. “I’m happy to take the heat on the cost of things like construction materials, but I consider that largely to be immaterial to the larger goal.”
He called the Pier “emotional infrastructure,” referring to a term coined by local urban planner Peter Kageyama who has said cultural events and public art are among the factors that cause people to love the places where they live.
“We are building a sense of place, a place where memories will be created, where kids will laugh and learn, where couples will fall in love or get married, where so many special occasions will be celebrated,” Kriseman said.
Kriseman did not reference signature artwork planned for the Pier, an aerial net sculpture being designed by fiber artist Janet Echelman. Echelman unveiled the name for the sculpture, “Bending Arc,” last month.
Everyone at the State of the City address got a tote bag with the new Pier logo on it.
“I feel like Oprah giving away prizes,” Kriseman said. “You get a car, you get a car. Since this is St. Pete, they will be electric cars, of course.”
St. Pete Catalyst will have additional reports on the State of the City address on Monday.