A public meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at city hall in Hannibal to address the growing concerns regarding the sidewalk replacement project currently under way on North Main Street.
“Questions and concerns have arisen surrounding the Main Street project,” wrote Mark Rees, city engineer, in a letter sent by the city to North Main store operators and property owners. “Merchants have expressed concerns and posed specific questions about design and installation components at various locations. We would like to bring all stakeholders together, with the design engineers and construction company, to address those concerns.”
Among those planning to attend the meeting is Julie Rolsen, vice president of the Historic Hannibal Marketing Council.
“We need to halt right now, sit down and look at it, come up with some ideas and then continue on,” she said. “It’s taken us 30 years to get this far. We want to do it right because if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when are you going to have time to do it over?”
Anxiety has grown as progress has been made on the west side of Main Street’s 300 block and merchants have seen a two-tiered sidewalk taking shape.
“Mostly all the shop keepers are just concerned that the ‘choppy’ sidewalk is not going to be easy to access and will be an accident waiting to happen,” said Julie Rolsen, vice president of the Historic Hannibal Marketing Council. “You’ve got the antique people (Mrs. Clemens Shoppes). There’s nowhere for them to put their rides. Then you’ve got the next guy in line there (Main Street Wine Shoppe). Where is he supposed to put his chairs and tables to have your wine or whatever outside? If that’s a different level you’re going to have a step either going to the table or getting out of the tables to go get another one.”
In addition to city officials, representatives of Architechnics and MECO Engineering will be on hand Monday to explain the challenges they faced to design and install a sidewalk that meets Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. Also represented will be the project’s contractor, Bleigh Construction, to answer feasibility questions regarding possible “field changes.”
Rolsen, who is “grateful” for the chance to have a public dialogue regarding the project, is hopeful the meeting is productive.
“They’re willing to talk to us, but I just hope they’re willing to listen. That’s the difference. We want them to make sure they hear us and realize this is a major concern for us,” she said.