When the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department agreed this summer to purchase a lot located between the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center and Ringer Park, the intent was to relocate the park’s horseshoe pits to the south side of Bear Creek and convert the park into a parking area. Several months later, however, the idea of doing away with Ringer Park has been put on hold.
According to Andy Dorian, director of the Parks Department, it didn’t make financial sense to push forward with the initial plan.
“To asphalt the site we have acquired and Ringer Park would be an enormous costly, almost six figures just on the prep work,” he said.
That doesn’t mean additional parking won’t be provided, as was promised when the Parks Department bought the roughly 135-foot by 235-foot flood-plain lot.
“We can overlay what we have right now, the site we acquired, fairly cheaply,” said Dorian. “We’ll use our workforce and the Street Department’s workforce to do that (pave the lot that was purchased), but to develop the other side (Ringer Park) where there’s got to be grading and rock brought in, it’s going to cost a lot of money.”
The plan is for the open lot to be paved next year. Once that is done Parks Department personnel will monitor the new parking lot’s use.
“We’ll see how many days the lot is being used. If we see we need more space then we’ll look to do that next one,” said Dorian.
One of the advantages to moving Ringer Park south of Bear Creek was that the additional space would allow more pits to be created. Dorian believes the eight-pit park can be expanded enough to allow for tournament use.
“We definitely have the room. We’ll just stretch it out farther. There’s tons of room in Ringer Park,” he said.
Not moving the horseshoe pits to the other side of Bear Creek opens up possibilities there, according to Dorian.
“We think we can get a full-sized, regulation football field on that side where we thought about putting the horseshoe pits,” he said. “We’ve had people come in and ask if we need all these ball fields, but it’s more multipurpose. Yes, there’s going to be a ball field, but there’s not really going to be any outfield fencing, so it could be wide open. If you want to play flag football, or soccer, or kickball, it’s open to do whatever. We’ll only put the fencing up for hosting some kind of tournament or something like that.”