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The new St. Pete Pier is now getting trees

Palm trees in the marketplace area will create a tropical feel.

The new St. Pete Pier is getting its first touches of nature this week. The city began planting the first of 700 trees throughout the district.

A video on Facebook shows crews hoisting several tall palm into the ground. The first round of tree planting is happening in the marketplace area of the new pier district. That area is in front of the St. Petersburg Museum of History and north to about Spa Beach.

When completed, it will include several stalls for vendors including both food and retail as well as tables and chairs and shaded tent areas.

The palm trees will line the corridor, creating a tropical feel.

“You’ll feel like you’re on vacation walking through the Pier District,” the city wrote in a post accompanying the video.

Construction on the entire Pier District is well underway. The main structure at the pier head is an almost completed shell. That structure will be complete later this year with work on the inside of the building continuing through the beginning of next year.

Aerial views show the pier has already taken on its iconic shape with sharp corners of the approach and pier head.

Crews have already begun work on building the foundation for the Janet Echelman sculpture on Spa Beach. That construction gives onlookers the first glimpse of where the billowing, brightly colored sculpture will be in relation to the rest of the pier.

The Doc Ford’s restaurant is near complete. The city expects to be ready to let the restaurant vendor come in sometime this summer and begin retrofitting it for their needs.

Major completion on the entire pier project is expected by the end of this year with the district opening sometime early next year, though an exact date had yet to be determined.

The pier was supposed to open by the end of this year, but unexpected projects including replacing sea walls caused some delays.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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