Residents in St. Pete are getting a new look at the proposed Pier replacement that they'll be voting on next month.
The city released updated renderings of the 'Lens' proposal this afternoon, along with details about what has been changed in the plan, and why.
One of the more significant changes is the addition of the Columbia restaurant at the landside base, or hub, of the pier, along with the updated café out on the structure itself.
The new renderings also reflect changes to the canopy plan and the slope of the biking and jogging path.
New images of the proposed New St. Petersburg Pier win the approval of two critics of the old renderings.
The $50 million "Lens" is the subject of referendum by petition August 27th. Until now, the city has used conceptual renderings released in late 2012.
But significant changes became apparent when the final schematic design was completed this spring. By the time enough signatures to force a vote were gathered in May, the inaccurate imagery took on political overtones.
"The city should lead by example and show current images of what the people will actually be voting on -- not some hypothetical conceptual thing," city councilman Wengay Newton said Wednesday. He called the nine updated images "a good effort."
On at least two occasions, St. Petersburg's Howard Taylor addressed the city council with Power Point presentations highlighting the differences between pictures and final design documents. After viewing the new renderings, he said "I'm very happy to see what it's supposed to look like. Whether you think it's pretty or not, that's up to the individual person, but now we know what it's supposed to look like."
The Lens features two looping pathways leading to a towering canopy on the site of the existing St. Petersburg Pier, with a marina in the middle of the loops.
The original concept, and therefore the old images, showed only non-motorized watercraft. The marina will not have slips for a couple of dozen motorized pleasure boats, which are shown in a revised rendering.
Some of the more dramatic changes are on the Tampa Bay side of the canopy. Balconies formally jutted out of the canopy; now they are connected by stairways required by code.
Original drawings of the canopy reflected the smooth surface of re-enforced concrete. The new drawings show aluminum panels. The columns supporting the canopy are more numerous, more slender and taller.
While acknowledging the city's good faith effort to provide more accurate information, neither critic thought the new renderings will change voters' opinions about the Lens.
Polls suggest the Lens will not survive the August referendum, but city councilmembers are scheduling town hall meetings in an attempt to "educate" the electorate.
"I don't want them out there putting up beautiful, gorgeous images because they look good, people go Ooooo! but that's not what you're going to get, that's old bait and switch," Newton told FOX 13 News.
MORE PHOTOS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofstpete/