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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Kiwanis Park project moving forward

  • Work on a new amenity for Kiwanis Park in downtown Hannibal is now underway. Progress is being made this week on the site where a new 30-foot by 40-foot shelter will be erected.
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  • Work on a new amenity for Kiwanis Park in downtown Hannibal is now underway. Progress is being made this week on the site where a new 30-foot by 40-foot shelter will be erected.
    The project, which received the City Council’s blessing in mid-February, was expected to begin this spring. However, Old Man River had other ideas.
    “Usually in the spring you never know what’s going to come,” said Aron Lee, assistant director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department. “We were pretty busy with other projects and of course we had the flood which set us back a little bit. We’re hoping to have this done this fall.”
    The ever-present threat of a flood is one reason the pavilion will not, at least initially, have an electrical connection.
    “Because of the potential for flooding in this area, having those outlets, we’re kind of leery of,” said Lee. “That might be something we look at in the future. We might look at something that we could take in and out.”
    As for the pavilion itself, it will not be removed when the Mississippi River leaves its banks.
    “The structure itself will be able to stay where it’s at. We’ll just have some picnic tables we’ll have to take out, but other than that it should withstand any flooding,” said Lee.
    The new shelter is being constructed in the park’s southeast corner, adjacent to the playground.
    “You can come down here during the week and see hundreds of kids,” said Lee, referring to the use of the new playground equipment that was purchased in 2013 and installed last summer. “Having this (new pavilion) is only going to make the park better. It will be available for rent, too. We could see family reunions, birthday parties and things like that. It will probably be the most popular park.
    “I know the public has been waiting for this to be built. We’re pretty excited about it, too.”
    The Parks & Recreation Department purchased the shelter for $26,778 from Nutoys Leisure Products. The Parks Department budgeted $100,000 for the purchase and construction of a new shelter for Kiwanis Park.
    Helping hold the project’s cost down is the fact Parks Department personnel are handling the earthwork, installation of the concrete pad and erection of the shelter.
    “We really want to do more of these things that we can do in house and not have so many things engineered out,” said Lee.
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    Park history
     
    According to "Hannibal, Too" by J. Hurley Hagood and Roberta (Roland) Haygood, the park area on Hannibal's riverfront has existed since the early 1900s. However, in its early days it was known as Electric Park because it was located in front of the city's electric plant.
    In the early 1970s, after numerous floods and neglect, the park was in a state of decline. While officials at city hall wanted to convert the site into a parking area, the Kiwanis Club stepped forward and said the park should be preserved because of its proximity to the river.
    The Kiwanis and other organizations worked together to pay for improvements to the park. With the help of volunteer labor, Kiwanis Club members built shelters and picnic tables, and planted trees and shrubs. Fencing was installed to separate the park from railroad tracks.
    It was at about this time the name was officially changed to Kiwanis Park.

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