All is well that ends well.
All is well that ends well.
That is the moral to Hannibal’s downtown improvement project, which officially concluded Friday afternoon with the snip of a blue ribbon with a pair of over-sized scissors.
“It’s amazing to finally get to see the ribbon cutting. It took a little longer than everybody expected with the redesign. We did it right and everybody is happy. I’m happy. I’m just glad to be a part of such a great project for the city of Hannibal and our downtown,” said Brian Chaplin, project manager for the city.
“I do feel real good,” said Mark Rees, director of public works for the city. “We knew it would be a big challenge going in, in this tight of an area with this massive of a project, and it worked out very well. We have something we can be proud of. It cost a little more than we thought, but that sometimes goes with the territory. At least we have a very good product as an end result.”
Speaking in behalf of the Historic Hannibal Marketing Council, Paul Lewellen saluted the end project.
“I’m here to say thank you very much,” he said. “We’re very proud of what we have and the end result is second to none of any of our neighbors’ historic districts. We went through a lot, but we’ve already noticed a difference and I’m sure the project had a lot to do with it. We’ve already had several events and festivals and they’ve all exceeded years past.”
Councilman Kevin Lionberger saluted MECO Engineering, Klingner & Associates, Bross Construction and Bleigh Construction for their efforts. He also praised Chaplin and Leon Wallace and his Street Department personnel. He also extended his appreciation to the “merchants and property owners who put up with all the delays there were, but we got the project done.”
“It was definitely an ordeal, but we proved the citizens, merchants and city government can work together to make a project we can all be proud of and will probably outlast all of us,” said Councilman Mike Dobson.
Dobson, whose ward includes North Main Street, was cited by Lewellen.
“He was our negotiator … our ‘go-between’ guy. Some days he was pretty busy. He did a good job and kept us informed,” he said.
According to Chaplin, communication was a key element in making the project run smoothly and keeping merchants calm.
“It’s communication and letting them know what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and what days we’re doing it. That’s what really helped with this project,” he said.
Mentioned again and again for their efforts were the workers of Bleigh Construction, the project’s general contractor.
“Bleigh was great,” said Dobson. “I heard that numerous times from the merchants that they were easy to work with and accommodating.”
“Bleigh Construction bent over backwards when they had to,” added Lewellen.
Tom Bleigh, president of Bleigh Construction, deflected the praise he heard Friday to his employees.
“That’s good, but mainly it was the people that worked down here that are responsible for that,” he said. “It does make me feel good, but they’re the ones that deserve the credit.”
While Friday’s ribbon cutting marked the project’s official conclusion, a bit of work still remains. Some old-style information signs will be installed at various street corners to help tourists find different downtown destinations.
“Those were purchased before this project started and they’re in storage right now. They’ll be installed in relatively short order,” said Rees.