Huckleberry Park project planned this fall

The cause of an ongoing loss of water from the Huckleberry Park pond has been determined. Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department (HPRD), reported Thursday during a public hearing at city hall that recent soil borings at the site revealed the pond's bottom consists of red sand.

“That's pretty much why it is leaking,” he said.

The continuing loss of water has led to another problem.

“The banks have become unstable and are slowly eroding into the pond and killing it,” said Dorian. “It's not holding water and filling in with silt, so it's kind of a double whammy.”

Possible solutions are under development by Klingner & Associates.

“What they're proposing is to do an excavation of the area, bringing it back to an adequate depth, and then sealing it in some way, whether that is with a clay base or some other option,” said Dorian. “What I think they are going to do is present us with a couple of options, then the Park Board and City Council can look at the cost analysis of both.”

To address the significant bank erosion that is occurring a “percentage of the shoreline is going to be rip rapped.”

Dorian added that putting down rip rap will only add to the pond's other shortcoming – lack of access to the water's edge by “anybody with mobility issues, which is a lot of people.” Consequently the project will feature a handicap-accessible dock.

“That's going to be a really, really important part of the project,” said Dorian. “The whole goal of this is to create a recreational environment for families and kids to go fishing. It will also help us on a recreational side to host our own fishing rodeos and fishing clinics, which a lot of communities do and are really popular.”

While $150,000 was budgeted this year for the pond project, Dorian said that amount was only a “placeholder.” He added that a specific cost estimate is not yet available, but will be in hand when the Parks Department submits its application for a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant.

Dorian stresses that the project will occur.

“I want the public to know we're going to do this project one way or another, but if we can get 50 percent of the money (through a LWCF grant) we're going to try and do that.” he said.

“But if for some reason we don't get the grant we are going to proceed with this project.”

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