"For Sale" signs dot the northern stretch of Stardust Drive's newest section, which officially opened to traffic Monday morning. Optimism is high those signs will proceed some significant development in western Hannibal.
"There are some building lots over here," said Hannibal Mayor Roy Hark. "I anticipate seeing some good things happen out here in the next couple of years."
What will the area that has now opened to traffic look like in five years?
"I think there's going to be a big difference," said Hark. "If our economy would pick up a little bit and money frees up a little bit I think you're going to see a lot of good things happen out here."
"Boy, I don't know. I do think it opens up the Veterans Road corridor for new growth and development because it provides a key transportation link from the outer belt to the main part of the community, which is great," responded City Manager Jeff LaGarce when asked the same question. "You see the lots for sale up and down here already. We made the road decision before we were even aware that an investor was out there. I guess we were nearly through with the design when he made contact with us and said he was real interested in doing some development. We thought, 'This is great. Now when this road gets built we may have some automatic development that occurs, too.' That was just icing on the cake."
Also optimistic about the potential for future development along the new stretch of Stardust are Mark Rees, Hannibal city engineer, and David Bleigh of Bleigh Ready Mix, the project's general contractor.
"I think you have a real good chance to see some development here, not only from what we see out here today, but from what I've heard from the owners of property that seem interested in the development potential," said Rees. "It's very likely we could see some activity out here as soon as the parties get together and decide what they want to do."
"It's definitely going to help," said Bleigh. "There's some talk right now about putting some apartment buildings in and some houses. It (having Stardust open) is an asset to whoever would build in this area."