Multi-purpose hybrid pier-park planned for Florida

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The Pier-Park will be a platform for a multitude of activities and experiences rather than "a singular and heavily programmed destination"(Credit: ASD/Rogers Partners/Ken Smith)

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The city of St. Petersburg in Florida is to gain an exciting new public space. The St. Petersburg Pier will be redesigned as a hybrid pier-park accommodating a variety of outdoor activities and facilities for entertainment and public events.

Although unusual, the pier-park concept is not unprecedented. New York's planned Pier 55, for example, is designed to be a lush green environment on the Hudson River. The new St. Petersburg pier will offer similar green spaces to Pier 55, as well as a broader selection of other facilities.

The pier itself has had numerous guises. Originally the Railroad pier of 1889, it has subsequently been known as the Electric Pier, the Municipal Pier, the Million-Dollar Pier, and, most recently, simply, "The Pier."

The new US$46 million project is a collaboration between Rogers Partners Architects+Urban Designers, ASD and Ken Smith Landscape Architect. Once complete, the 1,380 ft (421 m) pier is aimed at extending the urban and recreational features of St. Petersburg into the bay itself and reconnecting the pier to the daily life of St. Petersburg.

According to a press release, the new development will be a platform for a multitude of activities and experiences rather than "a singular and heavily programmed destination." It will seek to attract all sorts of people, including children, seniors, nature lovers, boaters, fishermen and so on.

To begin with, there will be paths and trails through a coastal thicket for cycling, jogging and walking. Floating docks covering an area of 17,000 sq ft (1,600 sq m) and a bait shop will cater for fishing, whilst facilities for kayaking, boating and other watersports will also be available. There will also be a splash-pool for paddling in and it will be possible to hire bike and watercraft at the pier.

A 7,600 sq ft (700 sq m) bar and grill will provide a place for eating and drinking and there will be spaces for events, such as concerts, including a sloping lawn with a potential capacity of 4,000 people. Wet and dry classrooms will be available for education activities.

Elsewhere there will be other other retail and recreation facilities, a welcome plaza, a spa beach, a tiled lawn and porch swings. Transport links will include the St. Petersburg trolley and a potential high-speed ferry. The Pier-Park is expected to open to the public in early 2018.

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