Part 1 of 4 in a series about upcoming work at Hannibal parks

Hannibal’s Riverview Park with its approximately 465 acres of forest and scenic overlooks has long been a favorite place to visit for casual walkers, serious joggers, bicyclists and motorists. Later this year a project is being planned that will make driving through a major intersection in the park a smoother experience.

A few hundred yards after turning into the park from Harrison Hill is a four-way stop. A left-hand turn takes visitors to multiple overlooks of the Mississippi River. A right-hand turn leads visitors to the playground and Soap Hollow Trail. After years of use the area around the four-way stop has become more akin to a washboard than part of a frequently used park roadway system.

“It’s pretty bumpy and hairy through there,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Parks Department, during a meeting of the Park Board this spring. “The plan is to rip the four-way out and redo the drainage because that’s one of the problems there. We’ll also make it a little wider and then lay the asphalt.”

Dorian says the planned work, which will feature the combined efforts of Parks Department personnel and Street Department workers, will not constitute a “major project.”

The project is not a new addition to the Parks Department’s wish list.

“We’ve been talking about that for the past year,” said Dorian. “We would have loved to have gotten it done this winter, but the Board (of Public Works) was still working on the water plant and Bleigh (Construction) was coming in and out of there. We wanted to get it done before April, but we couldn’t because of the construction that was going on.”

Dorian now sees a time on the calendar when he believes the work can take place without too much inconvenience for the public.

“The plan is to do that this fall when things slow down a little bit in the park,” he said. “I didn’t want to shut the four-way down in the middle of the spring and summer when it is most popular because it will probably be down for a week. We’ll wait until later in the fall to do it.”

Weeds be gone

Another project not billed as major, but which will make a major difference in a park’s appearance will occur at the Norfolk & Southern Multi-Sports Park on Warren Barrett Drive.

“It is just a sea of dandelions. I’ve never seen so many dandelions in my life. Right now there’s basically zero grass on the field, it’s just weeds,” said Dorian. “We cut it and within a day and a half they’re all back up again. They’re amazing.”

The heavily-used field is an ongoing challenge to keep up, according to Dorian.

“That’s where the Y does its soccer and all those types of things,” he said. “It’s a tough field to keep up because it floods.”

The Parks Department’s game plan for the recreation area is not complex.

“We’re going to kill the whole thing this year and start anew,” said Dorian.

That strategy has been employed previously.

“We’ve done this before in the past where we just kill it in the fall, reseed it, fertilize the whole thing and then pray that it doesn’t flood,” said Dorian. “If it does there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just something we’re going to keep on more often.”

This project will not require hiring an outside contractor or recruiting help from the Street Department.

“It’s another project we’re going to do,” said Dorian. “It’s not a big cost. We’ve got some seed and Roundup.”

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