Creation of a lake at Lakeside Technology Park could still take years

Since being dubbed the Lakeside Technology Park, the absence of one feature — a lake — has been hard to ignore at the western Hannibal site. That, however, could be changing after the Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) recently received the permits necessary from both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) to begin construction.

Creation of the approximately 8-acre lake in a portion of the 116-acre industrial park won’t happen overnight, according to Bob Stevenson, general manager of the HBPW.

“We have about five years to do the work under this permit,” he said.

The next step in the lake creating process, according to Stevenson, will entail a “meeting with our consultants to determine scope and responsibility of the next steps.”

Some preliminary work has taken place at the lake site. Last fall about 22,000 cubic yards of clay and rock fill were removed for use at the nearby site of the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hotel.

Earlier this year Tri-State Timber was hired to remove trees above 10 inches in diameter from the proposed lake site. That work had to be completed by March 31 to avoid violating bat regulations and the possible need for the HBPW to renew a bat study that was initially completed nearly three years ago. The logging work wrapped up Feb. 14.

Creation of a lake at the site was initially proposed a handful of years ago by Klingner and Associates in a portion of the property deemed difficult to develop. Listed as potential benefits of the lake’s creation were the fact the lake will enhance the appearance of the industrial park’s lots, provide a retention area for storm water runoff from the lots and provide the city an urban lake, which will be developed as a conservation area with docks, parking lots and restrooms. An additional benefit of the lake’s creation is that it will provide necessary “clean fill” that will be needed when the riverfront project is undertaken.

The project has been beset by an assortment of obstacles. One of the most formidable arose in 2015 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) advised the HBPW that because the lake project would mean the loss of approximately 1,000 feet of stream bank that winds its way through the northeast corner of the property, some form of mitigation would be required.

The BPW was told a donation of between $350,000 and $400,000 to the MoDNR stream bank mitigation fund would cover the mitigation. The BPW balked at making such a “donation.”

In April 2015 the BPW Board approved a contract amendment of $11,500 with Klingner and Associates to identify potential mitigation solutions. However, none of Klingner’s “five or six” proposals was deemed acceptable by the MoDNR.

To help in the development of a mitigation plan palatable to the MoDNR and to assist in the securing of the permits necessary to allow construction of the dam and lake, the BPW Board in March 2016 authorized hiring Terra Technologies for a fee not to exceed $85,000.

Last November a mitigation plan was submitted to the USACE, which was ultimately approved. The plan is based on planned city improvements to three separate drainage basins. In each case the HBPW will be removing portions of existing storm water conduits and returning the drainage to a natural open stream.

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