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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Underwater light show aims to win over voters

ST. PETERSBURG — As political campaign events go, this one is a little different.

Supporters of the St. Petersburg’s proposed new pier are hoping a dazzling underwater light show on the city’s waterfront will win over voters to support the $50 million pier project known as The Lens.

They say the show, which will be held tonight and Saturday at Vinoy Basin, will give residents a preview of the light shows that would be a regular feature of the Lens.

About 40 underwater lights and 34 LED lights mounted on the basin’s seawall will light up an area close to the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The show, which runs between 8 and 11 p.m., also will include a display of works by local artists projected onto the wall of the museum to illustrate how the new pier’s canopy will be used as a projection backdrop for light shows.

Architectural firm Wannemacher Jensen and Deep Glow Technologies, both of whom would work on the Lens if voters approve it in a referendum on Aug. 27, are staging the show.

“This is really to demonstrate a small portion of the possibilities and especially the idea of entertainment at night, something to look at, something to create amazement for children and families,” said Jason Jensen, Wannemacher Jensen principal. ”It exposes wildlife and gives them an opportunity to get in touch with what is swimming below them when it’s dark.”

Leaders of Citizens for the St. Pete Pier, the group campaigning for the Lens, said they got permission from the city’s Parks and Recreation department and staff at the marina to put on the show. St. Petersburg officials stressed it is not a city sponsored event.

The show comes during the same week that city officials said the Lens design passed wind-tunnel testing.

But leaders of Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, a group that submitted more than 20,000 signatures to force a referendum, remain confident residents will reject the Lens.

A StPetePolls telephone survey of 1,133 likely voters released this week showed 60 percent against the project and 32 percent in favor. The margin of error was 2.9 percent.

“A light show will work with anything,” said Bill Ballard, one of Concerned Citizens leaders. “We have no concerns.”

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