The Lens: A Modern Mistake

By Morgan Chmielewski

Just admit it City of Saint Petersburg, your city may be growing, but you are not going to be visionaries and trendsetters of the future.

The first attempt was your idea to pick up and move the Tropicana field to a new location. The location would be creating additional waterside land to downtown St. Pete area and plopping the Tropicana down on it. That’s obviously not plausible.

The venture of redesigning the dilapidated Pier is the next attempt to prove some sort of modern ingenuity that is simply ridiculous. The Lens is the new vision for classic Pier.  Its modern design is not only out of place, it is useless to the community. Click here to view the new pier.

The current Pier is in great need of a remodel, or even rebuilding, but its charm is irreplaceable. Saint Petersburg is not a city that draws in visitors with modern, futuristic attractions. The classic Vinoy Hotel and charming restaurants along Beach Drive and Central are what visitors appreciate. The most modern building and museum, the Dali Museum, has a large window design featuring the beautiful bay.

Even the decrepit Pier gets visitors daily because of its classic charm and character. Replacing it with a Pier like the Lens is a mistake. Not only will it be out of place, it will be poor for the economy. The large amount of scarce money the City is willing to contribute to this idealistic, futuristic vision will not be profitable for the city. A large walkway around the water is nice, but frivolous.

The Lens also hopes to have a dining area, Underwater Feature and Lens Canopy. The dining area would be appreciated, as the Columbia is still the most popular feature in the current building. As for the Underwater Feature, I can’t imagine it being environmentally sound. The fact that the feature is still under study and review is unsettling. Aren’t we supposed to appreciate the bay with the Pier, not endanger it? The Lens Canopy is intended to create a pleasant viewing area of the city, but in reality, it will be hot. A metallic surface in the middle of the summer doesn’t sound very pleasant.

The Lens Canopy will also be blocking the beautiful view of the Bay with its 50 ft walls located at the far side of the Pier. Visitors on the walkway will be able to marvel at the typical landscape of a city, but the city will be cut off from the view of the Bay they pay tremendous money to appreciate daily.

There is a large anti-Lens campaign already initiated. Citizens have signs on their lawns saying, “STOP THE LENS.” They are prominent in all ranges of socioeconomic areas. The “artists” that supposedly are in favor of this development cannot be local. If they were, they would recognize its displacement in the community.

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