The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presents: Coronavirus Impact Insights. Click the play arrow above to watch the full video.
On this episode, Kristin Brett, the City of St. Petersburg’s Director of Pier Comunications and Marketing, joins Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and Joe Hamilton, publisher of the St. Pete Catalyst, to talk about the new St. Pete Pier and its official opening Monday (July 6).
Brett joined the pier team in 2014. “I was brought in mainly for the design competition,” she says. “But things just kept rolling along – and here I am.”
Six years have passed, and the $92 million structure’s grand unveiling is taking place in the middle of a global health crisis. “We’re opening in quite a different world than we thought we’d be opening in, that’s for sure,” she adds.
COVID-19 precautions have affected the way the pier will debut, as free tickets are required to attend Monday’s 5 p.m. opening, and each day of opening week. They’re available, in limited numbers, at stpetepier.org. The City, Brett says, is “playing by ear, to see what happens.”
Mayor Rick Kriseman will greet the first visitors at the gate Monday. One day, observes Steinocher, there will be a “major celebration” – but in the interests of public health and safety, if you don’t have a ticket for the opening, don’t go.
During the video, Steinocher and Brett review the features of the “Pier District,” starting with the marketplace, where 17 local vendors, with locally-made products, will set up shop on weekends only (for now).
In the marketplace are small murals – “snippets,” explains Brett, of full-sized downtown murals; each will display information as to the location of the original mural.
“We want to push people back out to the city after they’ve been to the pier for a while,” Steinocher adds, “and this will whet their whistle for it.”
For families who’ve had kids at home since March, the new Pier offers an entirely new adventure, he adds.
Says Brett: “In the old days, the prize was at the end. The place where you could go get your ice cream or have a snack, or go fishing or whatever you wanted to do. There is something going on every step of the way with this new pier. You can go halfway out to the pier head and still have a full day’s experience.”
From the public art installations to Spa Beach Bistro, from the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center to the five-story panoramic views of the bay and the St. Pete skyline from the pier head, the discussion covers every site and every function of the new St. Pete Pier.
Steinocher is thrilled when he’s informed that the Splash Pad, part of the nautically-themed children’s playground area, can be used by adults, too. “I don’t want to get kicked out on Day One,” he laughs.