A parcel of land on which the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department plans to extend a popular trail has passed a key environmental study, clearing the way for the city to buy the strip of property that is located adjacent to Bear Creek.

A parcel of land on which the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department plans to extend a popular trail has passed a key environmental study, clearing the way for the city to buy the strip of property that is located adjacent to Bear Creek.

“The Phase 1 environmental (study) came back fine,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, during the Jan. 19 Park Board meeting.

While terms of the purchase agreement had already been finalized, Dorian reported in December that the deal hinged on the findings of the environmental analysis.

“If for some reason that Phase 1 (environmental study) comes back scary and recommends a pricy Phase 2 remediation for leaky tanks or something like that, then we have the ability to back out of the deal,” he said late last year. “You can get into some very expensive Phase 2 remediation and that’s just not something we’ll probably tangle with.”

Everything else related to the sale has been completed.

“The deeds and all that stuff are fine. The contracts are signed. We just have to do the closing,” said Dorian on Jan. 19. “Hopefully in the next two weeks we’ll get that done.”

To help cover the cost of extending the Bear Creek Trail that will run along the northern edge of the Sodalis Nature Preserve to Patchen Street, the Parks & Recreation Department will be seeking a grant for just under $100,000 through a federally-funded program that is authorized by the U.S. Congress under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The purpose of the Act is to help states provide and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities.

On Dec. 20 the City Council approved the purchase by the Parks and Recreation Department of the real estate needed for the trail extension. Also OK’d that night was a recipient agreement between the Parks and Recreation Department and The Conservation Fund for $19,500. The money is being used to buy the land for the trail extension.

If awarded the grant, the city will need to provide a 20 percent match. That should not be a problem, according to Dorian.

“The 20 (percent) can be in-kind. We’re going to build the project in-house so we’ll be well over that 20 percent,” he said. “The $19,500 from The Conservation Fund also is part of that in-kind, the donation of the land. That will go toward that match as well.

“If we’re able to get that grant there’s not a whole lot of cost on the city’s side. We’ll do it for practically nothing. That’s a key. That’s why we’re doing it.”

According to Dorian, the grant money would be used to cover the cost of base material, asphalt, signage and benches along the new section of trail.

The process of filling out the grant application is already underway.

“It’s a pretty extensive grant; it’s not a one-page grant. It’s a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s worth it,” said Dorian, adding the deadline for submitting the grant application is Friday, Feb. 17.

During the Jan. 19 public hearing regarding the grant, Dorian said notification regarding the awarding of the grant will likely occur this summer. Work on the Bear Creek Trail extension would commence late this year. It is anticipated that the new section of trail would be completed by April 2018.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com