Friday, November 14, 2014

St. Pete Waterfront - The people want it remade for them

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb

AECOM, the consulting firm picked to develop the public input portion of St. Petersburg's waterfront plan presented a summary of its findings Thursday at the Vinoy Renaissance resort.

Charlie Fargo, Tampa Bay Times staff writer has a nice over view in his article: St. Petersburg public shows interest in only small changes to waterfront .

The public does not appear too interested in a massive overhaul of the downtown water front. The consultants seemed to have grasped that desire.

Waterfront redevelopment is now at that critical juncture where all major redevelopment projects arrive.

There is a general consensus from the public about where they would like the effort to go.

Enter the special interests. The public's view does not really mesh well with where the big downtown players would like to see the waterfront go. They would like to see some development opportunities.

The Kriseman administration will now have to navigate the master plan mine field as the special interests try to once again hijack a major downtown effort.

Dan Harvey Jr., who has long been a strong voice in downtown affairs said, "All these guys are smart enough to see through the group interests or individual agendas".

Let's hope so.

The consultants also expressed concern about the failure of GreenLight to garner public support and cited transportation as a major concern in the waterfront plan.

The whole project covers about a seven mile stretch along the water front. If the planners and the Kriseman administration can't figure out how to transport the public around a seven mile stretch then the waterfront plan is in real trouble.

Key to all of this is who the mayor puts on the final committee that will make a recommendation to City Council. 

It would be a good idea for the Kriseman administration and the City Council to remember the LENS and the GreenLight debacle and not create another over bloated project packaged up by the downtown power players that the public will not support.

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