Funds from grant will help pay for paved extension of popular Sodalis walking/cycling trail

Park grant clarification

 It was reported in the Thursday, April 20, edition of the Courier-Post that the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded a grant to help pay for a trail extension in Sodalis Nature Preserve.

According to Andy Dorian, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, the city has been “preliminarily awarded the trail grant.”

“We still have to do a site inspection and go through a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) environmental review process before we're actually awarded the grant,” he said during Thursday's Park Board meeting.

The walking and biking options available to Sodalis Nature Preserve visitors will be growing, thanks to a grant that has been awarded the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department.

The Parks and Recreation Department has been advised it will be the recipient of a Recreational Trails Program Grant that it applied for in mid February.

The Parks & Recreation Department requested $37,497 in grant money through a program that is authorized by the U.S. Congress under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, whose purpose is to help states provide and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities. The grant is administered through the Division of State Parks.

The city will need to provide a 20 percent match, which can include in-kind work on the project, plus the $19,500 from The Conservation Fund that went to purchase the land on which the trail extension will run.

Another requirement in the grant application process was met Feb. 7 when the City Council approved a resolution in which the city committed to building, operating and maintaining the new section of trail for a minimum of 25 years, if the grant is awarded.

Grant funding is an essential component of the Parks and Recreation Department’s plans to extend the Bear Creek Trail through the Sodalis Nature Preserve to Patchen Street on land it obtained in late December, using funds provided by The Conservation Fund. Andy Dorian, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said earlier this year the grant money would be used to cover the cost of base material, asphalt, signage and benches along the new section of trail.

Work on what has been officially designated as Phase Three of the Bear Creek Trail Extension could commence as soon as late this year. If that happens it is anticipated that the new half-mile section of paved trail would be completed by April 2018.

“It should take about a month to complete in-house,” Dorian told the Park Board at its February meeting.

For a time it appeared that a land-ownership question surrounding a small parcel of property near Bear Creek might prevent the Parks and Recreation Department from seeking the grant in 2017. However, the ownership issue was resolved just in time to meet the looming deadline, according to Dorian.

“Our plat maps at City Hall showed we owned the old (Short Line) railroad line where the trail is going and never thought a thing of it. When Klingner was doing its survey work they checked with the county and the county had no records that we owned the property,” he said in February. “After an enormous amount of research they (Wells Abstract) finally found the quick claim deeds that we do own all the property. It just never got recorded for some reason.”

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