Of course, this is no ordinary pier. Opponents of the Lens would argue it not only isn’t a pier, it is $50 million worth of nothing. “There is no there,” some say when talking about the proposed replacement for The Pier in downtown St. Petersburg, with its soon-to-be taken down inverted pyramid.
The anti-Lens forces have become so vocal that city council members have been wavering on whether to spend $1.5 million on the next design phase of the project, and it now seems likely that residents will vote in August on canceling the contract with the architect altogether.
Proponents, insisting that there really is a “there there,” keep coming up with more attractions for what opponents suggest is nothing more than a fancy jogging and bicycle path out over the water and back.
Their latest is to go environmental, saying the lake inside the Lens will become an educational water garden.
Of course, the anti-Lens people jumped on that, maintaining it was faux science and the water would be too murky to see anything anyhow.
When they tore the building down in the ’60s and replaced it with that hideous inverted pyramid, St. Pete lost its greatest landmark.
They won’t be bringing anything like that back. It was too much a symbol of a simpler time when “quaint” was in. Boosters and chamber-types don’t like the word “quaint” anymore. That’s why they painted the city’s green benches pastel colors and did everything but run seniors out of town to give it a more “with it” image.
Maybe that’s why I’m beginning to lean more toward the Lens side of the issue. The Lens is about as “with it” as you can get. It’s as if they took Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard, known as having the “world’s longest unbroken sidewalk,” and ran the sidewalk out into the water in a geometric series of ovals and circles. It might look good, but there would be no “there there.” I think what they need to do is upgrade their proposed “water feature.”
I’m telling you, the profits from selling plastic Lens Louie Lenses glasses to see the creature in 3-D would pay for the project in no time. Throw up a few telescopes along the Lens boardwalk and maybe even talk the Gonzmarts into coming up with a Lens Louie sandwich at their Columbia Restaurant on the pier.
I should have gone into marketing.