A long-planned project in the Hannibal marina got under way Monday morning, but at least two local boaters who were down watching the work were not pleased with the timing.
“I don’t see why they don’t wait until fall. Why not wait six more months,” said a local boater, who refused to give his name.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s poor timing,” added one Hannibal boater, who also declined to provide his name. “It (work) needs to be done, I don’t deny that. But they could have picked a better time line than this. There was ample time to do this before today.”
Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department, believes doing the work now makes more sense than waiting until later.
“We know this is going to impact some people, but we figured it would be a smaller number now than any other point and time,” said Dorian, noting that the local river boating season peaks from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Dorian says factors prevented the work from starting sooner.
“We’ve tried to get it in when the weather was warm enough to pour concrete and to get in there and do the work,” he said. “We had to wait until the dredging was done and obviously it snowed while the dredging was still going on here.”
The project has been on the Parks & Recreation Department’s “to do” list for some time.
“We have targeted this date for a year and a half now,” said Dorian. “We knew as soon as the weather got warm enough in the spring where we could get in there and rip everything out and pour the concrete, we were going to do it.”
The work entails taking out a 40-foot by 40-foot section of broken pavers that has been repaired time and again over the years by asphalt or concrete, leaving the area very uneven.
“What we’ve been finding is people, especially those who have never been down there before, are backing up and going into these holes. We’re very worried about potential liability from damage to a boat, truck or just someone tripping in a hole down there,” said Dorian, adding that the new concrete will also improve the area’s appearance.
Currently there is a single concrete pad that goes down into the water. When the project is finished the concrete will extend further to the west.
“There needed to be a longer concrete boat ramp, especially with the river levels fluctuating as much as they have been lately,” said Dorian.
Page 2 of 2 - The work is being performed Paul White Construction for about $12,000. If the weather and river cooperate, Dorian anticipates that the project could be done in one to two weeks.
“You want to try and be as accommodating to everyone as possible, but at some point and time on some of these projects you’ve got to close everything down and have them done safely, correctly and have them come in on budget,” he said.
Boaters wanting access to the river before the marina project is done are being encouraged to use the John Hay Recreation Area boat ramp across the river.
“I know it’s not the greatest boat ramp in the world and it’s not something we’d encourage people to use for months on end, but for the time being if people really want to get into the river, that’s probably their best bet,” said Dorian.
“It’s damaged,” complained one of the local boaters regarding the John Hay Recreation Area boat ramp. “One side (of the ramp) has been closed for years.”