Things are slowly returning to normal in Riverview Park. The latest step in that direction came earlier this week when Soap Hollow Trail was reopened to the public.
The park’s two popular walking trails - River Road and Soap Hollow - were both blocked by fallen trees after the severe storm of May 20.
“Soap Hollow wasn’t as bad. There were a couple of big trees down and they’ve been working there the last couple of days, so that way people can walk through Riverview Park and then go down to the riverfront or downtown,” said Mary Lynne Richards, assistant supervisor for promotion and planning with the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department.
River Road Trail down to the river remains closed.
“It’s not completely safe for pedestrians. There still are a few ‘widow-makers,’ where branches are still hung up in trees,” said Richards.
A lower portion of River Road Trail remains blocked by debris from a pair of recent landslides. What to do with that section of the trail, which overlooks the Mississippi River, is still being evaluated.
The only other section of the park still closed lies beyond the river overlook nearest the railroad bridge. According to Richards, the road in that area was damaged by trees brought down in the storm.
The majority of Riverview Park is now open again to the public, which is something the Parks Department wanted prior to the upcoming July 4 holiday.
“Riverview Park is so well known in Hannibal. When all these visitors are in town for National Tom Sawyer Days we really wanted to have it open and let people come and visit the park,” said Richards.
Tourists are not the only ones who utilize the park.
“I would hear about it daily from people wanting to know when it would open because they use it to walk and exercise,” said Richards. “We were really anxious to get as much of it open as we could.”
One reason the park is now open is because of the turnout of people for a recent cleanup day.
“We had 140 to 150 people who were there for the Riverview Park cleanup,” said Richards, who admits being surprised by the turnout. “I knew it (June 21) was a work day and I knew that it would be difficult for people to make time for it, but I saw families in there, stay-at-home moms with their children and retired people. People wanted to make the effort. It was really gratifying.”