The Hannibal parks system is growing fast, thanks to flood buyout property that is being added. With the new acreage will come new opportunities for recreation.

The Hannibal parks system is growing fast, thanks to flood buyout property that is being added. With the new acreage will come new opportunities for recreation, according to Mary Lynne Richards, assistant supervisor for promotion and planning with the Parks Department.

“We’re so excited. Because of those new properties we are going to be able to open up just some more recreational opportunities we’re not able to offer now,” she said. “At the Display Center we’ll have a regulation-sized baseball field. That’s what we’re planning right now. There’s not another public, regulation-sized baseball field in Hannibal.”

Consideration is being given to adding an archery range on a portion of the South Main Street land, according to Richards, who stresses that is just one possibility on the land south of Bear Creek.

“It will be a big, open athletic field where we’ll be able to possibly have the archery range, places for kite flying, remote controlled airplanes and just a lot of open green space. There will also be space for softball fields and soccer fields,” she said, noting that because of the area being so flood prone that no permanent structures will be built.

The Parks Department’s goal in coming up with uses for the new space is to be unique.

“When we talk about new things we want to offer, we don’t want to duplicate what the school does or Y does. We want to provide things that aren’t here. That’s what the Parks Department is for, to provide recreational opportunities for everyone,” said Richards.

How the new park property is used will be determined with public input in mind.

“We had a master plan done a few years ago and the No. 1 thing people wanted was more trails, so we’re just kind of answering the call,” said Richards.

New walking areas will be introduced in at least two areas.

“I love the idea that the Gordon Street buyout land is going to have crushed stone walkways and some trails there with possibly a wild flower garden,” said Richards, who envisions markers being installed that will “provide some educational opportunities about native plants and trees along the trail.” “The Gordon Street trail will have a little bit of a hill. It won’t be as flat which will make it a little more interesting for people.”

A walking area is also planned on the new South Main parks property.

“There will be a walking path around the whole South Main complex, so you’ll be able to walk around that and get to the Bear Creek trail,” said Richards. “South Main couldn’t be any flatter. It will be a great place to walk. The Bear Creek trail is such a nice, little trail, but it’s only a third of a mile so we’ll be able to add some space with the South Main trail.”

While a great deal of attention is being placed on the large parcels of land the Parks Department is inheriting, some smaller areas will be used as community gardens.

“We already have a plot of land the guys have been working on close to South Main,” said Richards.

The development of the new parks properties will happen over time.

“I think it’s fun to look at it now and think what it will be in a few years,” said Richards.