Beautiful flowers fill baskets hanging from rustic-looking light poles on North Main.

Beautiful flowers fill baskets hanging from rustic-looking light poles on North Main. Decorative crosswalks have been installed at each intersection along the same corridor. Despite these and other beautification efforts in downtown Hannibal over the past year or more, some residents believe more needs to be done to improve the appearance in and near the historic district.

During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, City Manager Jeff LaGarce reported city hall has received several complaints about exposed private dumpsters that were located near the sidewalk on the city’s public parking lot on the west side of North Main Street, opposite Old Planters Restaurant. Since the initial complaints were made the dumpsters have been relocated away from the sidewalk, to a small grassy area on the southwest corner on the same municipal lot. And while the dumpsters have been moved to a less visible location, they still remain in plain view. Consequently, the complaints have continued according to the city manager.

The hands of the city are tied in regard to the issue because city code does not require dumpster enclosures or the screening of dumpsters. City staff neither has the authority to require the dumpsters be removed from city property because they are not enclosed.

LaGarce noted that the City Council is not compelled to allow use of city property as a holding area for dumpsters. However, in exchange for use of city property, the Council could require the dumpsters be kept in a “reasonable condition” to assure public health and safety.

In a memo to the Council, LaGarce proposed the Council give its permission to offer the southwest corner of the city lot as the location of the two dumpsters, provided the owners erect a suitable dumpster enclosure that was acceptable to the Historic Development District Commission. If those terms were not acceptable LaGarce sought the authority to require the dumpsters be removed from the parking lot.

Councilman Mike Dobson expressed satisfaction with the status quo – the dumpsters on the southwest corner without any screening.

“It’s a far cry (location-wise) from what it was,” he said, adding it might be good to repaint the dumpsters.

“It’s out of the area we wanted it out of,” said Councilman Jamie Locke.

“You certainly can’t put dumpsters on rooftops,” said Mayor Roy Hark.

Councilman James Hark expressed reservations at asking one person to put the dumpsters in enclosures when others with dumpsters in the downtown area do not have to adhere to the same requirement.

Councilman Barry Louderman made a motion that the dumpsters be moved from the city-owned parking lot to the nearby alley.

Dobson suggested that if the dumpsters were placed in the alley they could hinder emergency vehicles trying to pass through the area.

Louderman’s motion died for lack of a second, meaning the dumpsters can remain in the back corner of the city lot without an enclosure.