Erosion issues also to be tackled at Huckleberry Park's leaking pond

The pond in Hannibal’s Huckleberry Park has a major problem – it leaks a lot. After years of intent, that shortcoming is about to be addressed.

“It’s a project we have been talking about for quite some time,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Parks Department, during a meeting of the Park Board this spring. “It’s been a part of our capital five-year plan. It’s to the point now where we can’t wait any longer.”

The pond’s condition isn’t just something that’s caught the attention of Parks Department personnel.

“It’s something we hear about (from the public) quite often just because it’s so visible,” said Dorian.

It doesn’t take an expert to see the pond has serious issues, according to Dorian.

“Anybody who has been by it lately, or throughout the year, has seen how bad it is,” he said. “It’s just not holding water. It hasn’t been holding water forever and it needs to be renovated. I just think it’s time to tackle it and get it over with.”

The pond’s constant loss of water will not be the only thing addressed when the work begins.

“It was never properly done in the fact that there’s no rock on the shoreline so it’s eroding pretty terribly,” said Dorian.

Dorian has a vision for what he would like to see take place when work at the pond commences.

“I would like to have it drained, dug back out and whatever needs done to make sure it doesn’t leak any more,” he said. “I’d like to maybe have it widened a little bit in the back.

“I also want to look at a handicapped-accessible dock because if you have mobility issues you really have no access to the lake at all, which is not good,” Dorian added. “I want to look at that and properly rocking the shore line, adding some more benches, things like that.”

With all the amenities the 63-acre park has to offer, Dorian says it is time to address Huckleberry’s biggest shortcoming.

“With all the work we’ve done in Huckleberry with the shelter, playground, tennis courts, new ball field, that (pond) is kind of the one visible black eye in the park,” he said. “The skate park is still doing good and disc golf is popular. But right now we’ve got this one thing that looks bad and is not holding water.”

After the pond, whose level is supported by stormwater runoff, is repaired it will be more than just something tranquil for park visitors to look at.

“Once we are able to get it fixed and it’s able to hold water, then we can stock it (with fish) and keep it stocked,” said Dorian. “Then it will be a great place for fishing clinics, (fishing) rodeos and some place where your average family can go fishing again.”

The pond project, for which $150,000 has been budgeted, is tentatively scheduled to occur this fall.

“We want to get it out of the way before the riverfront (project) starts,” said Dorian.

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