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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Dorian: Work on new parks could begin this week

  • It may be the middle of winter, but that won’t stop the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department from beginning the process of converting flood buyout parcels into new parks.
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  • It may be the middle of winter, but that won’t stop the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department from beginning the process of converting flood buyout parcels into new parks.
    “We are ready to go,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Parks Department. “Maybe this week we’ll start on some of our community garden ideas.”
    Depending on costs, Dorian believes a majority of the park creation work will occur in the year ahead.
    “Ideally I’d like to get the majority of it done in this next budget. I budgeted $150,000 this year. It’s probably going to be somewhere in the $200,000 range this next year, but we’ll kind of wait and see,” he said. “We know we’ll develop the Display Center and South Main (sites) first. If the cost skyrockets, which I don’t think it will, we’d phase in the other parks later on.”
    Before the conversion process begins, Dorian first wants to give the public the chance to add its voice. That will happen Thursday, Jan. 17, when an open house takes place at city hall where preliminary proposals for new park facilities will be on display. The meeting in council chambers will begin at 6 p.m.
    Thus far public feedback regarding the new park property has been minimal.
    “I think people are aware some park projects will be in those locations, but I don’t know that they know the proposals. This will be a good opportunity for them to find out what’s being considered,” said Mary Lynne Richards, assistant supervisor for promotion and planning with the Parks Department.
    “I don’t know that I’ve had one phone call from anybody saying anything for or against what we’re going to do. I know a lot of people are saying we need more ball fields - baseball, softball, soccer. This (project) will answer some of those demands,” said Dorian.
    Public meeting turnout
    No one is predicting how big the turnout will be Thursday.
    “We know there are people that are interested any time you’re talking about a park, that involves the whole community. We hope that people will come and give us their feedback,” said Richards.
    “I hope a lot of people show up on Thursday night,” said Dorian. “We’re excited for Thursday night and excited to move on with this project.”
    Rather than a structured question-and-answer format, this week’s gathering will be fairly informal.
    “It’s an open house for an hour so people can come and go as they please,” said Dorian. “They (Klingner & Associates) will have all the poster boards of the parks. They’re also going to do a small presentation and then we’re going to open it up to questions.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Dorian wants to make sure that people understand the Parks Department will be a good steward of taxpayer dollars when it comes to creating the new parks.
    “I want to get out to the public that these are flood buyout properties and we’re not putting a lot of buildings back in harm’s way. It’s mostly fields - soccer fields, baseball fields. If it floods you might have some seeding you need to do, but at the end of the day you’re really not out a lot of money,” he said.

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