Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg council argues, then agrees on $14 million Pier District request

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council on Thursday night approved a formal request to Pinellas County to reallocate an extra $14 million to the Pier District project. But as usual, when it comes to the Pier, even this simple request grew complicated and contentious.

"I think everyone wants this Pier to be the best it can be," City Council chair Darden Rice said. "It's just figuring out the details in how to get there."

The council was divided by a new wrinkle proposed by City Council member Karl Nurse: He wanted the council to decide how to spend the money now to ensure county approval.

Nurse suggested spending $8.4 million on the pier and parts of the downtown waterfront master plan that affect the project, and using $5.6 million for transportation and parking in downtown.

That led to a convoluted discussion. Mayor Rick Kriseman walked into the council chambers after 8 p.m. and scolded council members for changing course from their April 6 discussion. They postponed the matter and took it up again at the end of the night.

Finally they agreed on this split: $10 million will go to add amenities to the pier and its approach. The other $4 million would go to transportation and parking.

"It always concerns me when we're making sausage on the dias," said City Council member Jim Kennedy. Then he asked the mayor to weigh in.

"It's not the ideal way of doing things," Kriseman said. "I can live with this language and I feel confident this is language the commission hopefully will be open to.

"I can never guarantee how they'll vote. But I think they will be receptive and I look forward to having discussions with each (commission) member."

The council voted 5-3 to make the request, passing it around 10 p.m.

If the county grants St. Petersburg's request, the pier price tag will climb millions beyond its current $66 million budget.

The final decision to reallocate $14 million in tax increment financing, or TIF funds, will be up to the Pinellas County Commission. The money was once slated for the city anyway, but to pay for a transportation hub that will no longer be built after the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum failed in 2014.

It was Kriseman's idea to tap into the TIF money and spend the entire amount on a list of "pier enhancements."

The mayor's wish list for the additional $14 million included spending $1.3 million on a signature art element, $2 million for a floating platform, $1 million on playground equipment and $300,000 to upgrade a splash pad.

But while the City Council appeared to go along with the mayor's idea of extra money for the pier, they will work on their own wish list.

City development administrator Alan DeLisle said the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce supports the $14 million in additional spending.

"I would hate to see us limit ourselves prematurely," chamber CEO Chris Steinocher told the council Thursday, referring to the idea of designating exact ways of spending the money before the request goes to the county.

The council's debate Thursday night foreshadows several decisions that the city must make to get the pier started and finished on time, by the end of 2018.

Construction of the 26-acre Pier District is set to start in May. Workers are expected to begin driving piles into the bay for the over-water component by June, but nothing can be done before permits are received from the Army Corps and Pinellas County.

Council members also have to approve construction costs for the over-water structure. That discussion is scheduled for May 18.

The target date for the grand opening is still December 2018.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

Comments
Forecast: Cold front to bring rain, wind gusts to Tampa Bay

Forecast: Cold front to bring rain, wind gusts to Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — A warm Sunday will be threatened by a few afternoon rain showers and wind gusts up to 20 mph, forecasters predict. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatu...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay TechPenix, a Tennessee commit, has been good all season and it seems as if he’s getting even better in the playoffs. On Friday night against Palmetto in the Class 7A region semifinals, he was too ...
Published: 11/19/17

Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Updated: 11 hours ago
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Published: 11/18/17
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Published: 11/18/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Published: 11/18/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?With WR Mike Evans back from h...
Published: 11/18/17