Current lighthouse has stood since 1963; city council to hear engineering contract to rebuild icon of Hannibal

An engineering service agreement regarding a project that would see the existing Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse torn down and reconstructed will be up for consideration by the Hannibal City Council during its Tuesday night meeting.

The May 15 meeting at Hannibal City Hall will begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

The parks department is recommending that the council authorize the mayor to sign an engineering service agreement with MECO Engineering Company for a lump sum not to exceed $9,300. For that amount of money MECO would provide design, bidding and construction phase engineering services during the reconstruction project.

Last November the parks department hired MECO Engineering to perform a structural study of the lighthouse. The findings of the study were recently shared with Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks Department.

“The report on the lighthouse said everything I thought it was going to say,” said Dorian, during the April meeting of the Hannibal Park Board. “It said it does not appear feasible for the lighthouse to be repaired.

“I was actually happy on the dollar amount. It was not as scary as I had anticipated.

“The engineer’s estimate to rebuild it as is is between $30,000 and $60,000. I’m pleased with that number. To rip up the foundation was going to cost $80,000 to $100,000.”

Dorian said that $75,000 had been set aside for the project in the 2017-18 budget.

While the foundation is still usable little else of the current lighthouse can be salvaged.

“One can look inside it and see most of it has rotted,” said Dorian. “Their (MECO) suggestion is to knock it down and rebuild it again, which is what we thought. There’s not much you can salvage with rotten wood.”

According to Dorian, the new lighthouse will not look much different than the current 54-foot structure.

“We would use better construction material, but it would be similar (in appearance) only with cedar shingles,” he said.

The electrical component of the new lighthouse will be quite different from the existing structure.

“The parks department will be working with the Hannibal Board of Public Works on a new lighting component for the lighthouse that will allow us to illuminate the entire structure different colors at night,” wrote Dorian in a memo to the council.

The current lighthouse has stood atop Cardiff Hill since 1963 after strong winds toppled its predecessor in 1960. It’s been over 20 years since the last major renovation of the lighthouse took place.

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