Editorial: How much is too much?

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is on a spending binge. Spending on two signature projects, a new police headquarters and a new Pier, have mushroomed. The city needs a new police station, and it has had a Pier for generations. But the prices have grown...

Editorial: How much is too much?

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is on a spending binge. Spending on two signature projects, a new police headquarters and a new Pier, have mushroomed. The city needs a new police station, and it has had a Pier for generations. But the prices have grown more than 70 percent since inception, now hovering around $80 million apiece. At City Hall, cost is of no concern when building legacy landmarks.

5 Months Ago

6 Months Ago

8 Months Ago

Police headquarters and shooting range

How $50 million became $85 million

2009: $50 million

That was the initial estimate to replace the department's aging, cramped headquarters.

2011: $32 million

A slumping economy forces city leaders to plan a smaller station while refurbishing the existing headquarters.

2012: $0

Then-Mayor Bill Foster scraps the whole project, citing money woes.

2015: $70 million

The economy rebounds, and new Mayor Rick Kriseman adds $20 million in Penny for Pinellas sales tax money to the original $50 million projection.

2016: $81 million

Soaring construction costs drive up the price tag.

2017: $85 million

The price jumps another $4 million to pay for additional parking spaces and energy efficiency features.

The final product will be a 167,500-square-foot station at 1301 First Ave. N that can withstand a Category 4 hurricane. Plans also call for a secure parking garage next door and a new shooting range and training complex in Woodlawn Park. Construction could start this spring.

The new Pier

How $46 million became $80 million

2013: $46 million

Of the original $50 million budget, $4 million was spent on the Lens, which voters rejected in a referendum.

2013: $66 million: A month after City Council members approved a new design, known as Pier Park, Kriseman proposes another $20 million for features linking the Pier to downtown.

2016: $80 million: After escalating costs force some Pier features to be removed, Kriseman wants to add $14 million in "enhancements" to make the Pier better, using funds freed up from a failed transit referendum.

If approved, the enhancements would include:

$3.4 million: Water recreation zone including floating docks, flight deck and kayak barn

$1.6 million: expanded pavilion with cafe, more shade and restrooms

$1.3 million: playground and splash pad enhancements

$2.6 million: "destination differentiators," described as a signature art element, market stalls and a signature recreational element

$1.68 million: movable fixtures and equipment such as outdoor furnishings, bike racks and a sound stage and lighting;

The new Pier would be a four-level structure over the water facing downtown with a restaurant. The entire 26-acre district would feature a lawn that hosts concerts, educational areas, a "coastal thicket" of native plants, a welcome center plaza with a covered tram stop, playground and splash pad, fishing areas and kayak rentals and a second restaurant near the marina.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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