New drop-off site located at Ninth and Warren Barrett

For years Hannibal residents took their assorted yard waste to the city lot at Seventh Street and Colfax Avenue. However, when the city recently moved the drop-off site to city-owned property at Ninth Street and Warren Barrett Drive, not everyone was thrilled with the change.

During Tuesday night’s meeting of the city council, Councilman Jim Van Hoose made a motion to cease using the new site as a drop-off point. Following a second by Councilman Jeff Veach, the matter was set to come to a vote. However, when Mayor James Hark asked if there were any additional comments, Councilwoman Melissa Cogdal spoke up. She asked for the vote to be delayed until she has the opportunity to do some research that would put her in a position to “make a good decision.” The matter was tabled at least until the council’s Tuesday, Feb. 20, meeting.

The issue was added to the council’s agenda at the request of Van Hoose, who reported that at least one businessman in the Ninth and Warren Barrett area had raised concerns.

The lone voice of opposition addressing the council was that of Paul Tomko, who owns commercial property near the new yard-waste site. He argued that the Seventh and Colfax lot was a far better location because Colfax sees considerably less traffic than Warren Barrett and was thus better suited to accommodate traffic going to and from the yard-waste lot. Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Knickerbocker pointed out that even when the yard-waste lot was at Seventh and Colfax, most vehicles heading there still used Warren Barrett.

It was reported the Seventh and Colfax site will be used to store fill dirt the city is acquiring. Tomko offered that dirt could be piled on any of a number of city-owed lots in the Colfax area. Andy Dorian, director of the Parks Department, noted that many of the parcels are flood-buyout sites, which have guidelines that prohibit items such as piles of dirt from being placed on them.

Concerns were raised regarding the impact that piles of yard waste would have on the area’s aesthetics. Mike McHargue of the Street Department explained that the items that are being dropped off are hauled away far faster now by a contractor. McHargue added that a maintenance-free, vinyl privacy fence will be installed at the lot.

“It’s very nice fencing,” said Knickerbocker. “It will improve the look of the area.”

Another benefit to closing the Seventh and Colfax site is improved security at the Street Department complex.

“Now I’m able to close my back door,” said McHargue, noting that anyone accessing the open gate of the Seventh and Colfax site could have then walked without hindrance to Street Department buildings, equipment and vehicles. Aside from the gate opening, the Ninth and Warren Barrett lot is fenced on four sides.

Knickerbocker said after spending millions of dollars on equipment it makes sense to protect it by closing the Seventh and Colfax lot.

Cogdal pointed out that the Ninth and Warren Barrett lot is larger than the previous site, which she termed a “benefit.”

Tomko complained that the decision to move the yard-waste lot was done with the convenience of city staff in mind.

Knickerbocker offered that relocating the lot was a “reasonable and well thought out plan.”

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