How flood buyout property will be utilized to meet the recreational needs of Hannibal was explained during a public meeting Thursday night at city hall.
Andy Dorian, director of the Parks & Recreation Department, stressed that the new parks have been designed to be “functional.” However, functionality is not enough. Dorian wants the latest additions to the parks system to be something that will “make Hannibal proud.”
Drawings of the major sites at 929 Warren Barrett Drive (Display Center), Gordon Street and South Main were on display.
The Warren Barrett site, which Dorian announced will be named Jimmy O’Donnell Park, will feature a full-sized baseball field and a medium-sized soccer field. The Gordon Street property will be converted into a “passive recreation area” that will include crushed-stone walkways totaling approximately 0.6 of a mile. An assortment of activities could find a home on the large, open area on South Main.
Michelle Beck asked about the power lines which run the length of the South Main site.
“The poles will be staying as of now,” said Dorian. “The Board of Public Works does intend to move them at some point in time, but it will be very expensive. Even with the poles there it won’t prevent kids from going there and kicking a soccer ball.”
John Lyng inquired about converting Ringer Park into parking for the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center, as the City Council proposed in 1994. Dorian explained that while in the long-term Ringer Park could be turned into a parking area, because of cost considerations only the Parks Department-owned lot next to the horseshoe-pitching park will be paved in the short-term. In fact, rather than pave it, the plan is to add more horseshoe pits to Ringer Park.
David Klassen expressed a desire to see cattails planted in some of the flood buyout property to help with the removal of chemicals from waste water. Dorian indicated that some long-range plans for along Bear Creek include the addition of marshes.
Mark Bross of Klingner & Associates noted that the property deeds limit what can be placed on the flood plain property in the future. He added that the primary objective is to get the spaces “usable” for the public.
“I like it,” said City Manager Jeff LaGarce of the plans on display. “It’s a good use of the property.”