Parks Department hosting public hearing regarding pond plans

High on the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department's to-do list is the renovation of the Huckleberry Park pond. The project, however, is being pushed back so that a grant can be pursued to help pay for the work.

“We are going to apply for a LWCF (Land and Water Conservation Fund) grant,” said Andy Dorian, director of the HPRD, during the recent meeting of the Park Board. “I'm going to push that project back regardless of what happens (with the grant).”

The HPRD will host an open house Thursday, Feb. 1, to hear public comments on the proposed renovation of the leaking pond. The public hearing will begin at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at city hall.

“A quick presentation will be made at 5:30 (p.m.) to address the current issues and propose potential solutions as well as listen to public comment,” said Mary Lynne Richards of the HPRD in an e-mail announcing the meeting.

According to Dorian, if the grant is received a dollar-for-dollar match will be required.

“It's a very long grant to write, but it's worth it to try to get 50 percent of the money,” he said on Jan. 18.

To be eligible for the grant a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review must be conducted.

“On the LWCF they require you to do the NEPA review on the front end before you're even picked to be a grant recipient, so that kind of stinks,” said Dorian. “We're working with Klingner (& Associates) now to get that going. It has to be done.”

The deadline for the NEPA review is March 30 while the grant application must be completed and in the mail by Feb. 16.

“Then sometime later on we will hear if we actually got a grant,” said Dorian.

The HPRD had budgeted money in the current fiscal year to repair the pond and add amenities such as a handicapped-accessible dock.

“We budgeted $150,000 for that project, so we won't be spending that on that project this fiscal year,” said Dorian. “If we are not going to get the grant we will probably turn around and do this project in the fall. But if we do get the grant we will go through the grant process.”

That $150,000 designated for the pond in the 2017-18 budget won't just sit around. Some of it will be spent on some non-budgeted work.

“A lot of the lights at the pool are out and the ones that are on, there's something the matter with the sensors and they're staying on all day,” said Dorian. “The light project is something we've got to get done. It was not budgeted so were going to use some of that $150,000 for the pond to get this (pool lighting) done.

“We also have a massive tree removal we need to do. We're going to dig into that $150,000 a little bit to do this. I don't know how much.”

Close to 30 trees in Riverview Park alone have been identified as needing to be taken down because they are either dead or dying.

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