Welcome center may open next month

The Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau's new welcome center is set to be open in February.
By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Jan. 10, 2020 1:03 pm

HANNIBAL | The Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau's new welcome center should be ready by the time the 2020 tourist season begins to heat up.

“The possible move-in date is highly dependent on January weather conditions,” said Gail Bryant, HCVB director. “We are optimistic our move-in date could be in February.”

Groundbreaking for the new facility took place on Nov. 29, 2018. At that time it was anticipated that the two-level building would be completed and open by late summer 2019. In August of last year Bryant told The Courier- Post that the welcome center was expected to be ready before the end of 2019.

The HCVB's new home will be located next to the Hannibal Aquatic Center, near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Pleasant Street, and will overlook Interstate 72/U.S. 36.

“When the convention and visitors bureau opened at 505 N. Third St. it was one of the first things you saw when coming across the bridge from Illinois,” said Bryant. “The new visitors bureau will once again be one of the first things you see when you cross the bridge into Missouri, with the added benefit of signage directing people to the welcome center to discover the delightful things Hannibal has to offer.”

Work on the facility that cost about $1.5 million is progressing “very well,” Bryant said.

“It is exciting to see the progress each time we have the opportunity to walk through to witness the development,” she said.

The HCVB's staff receives feedback on a regular basis regarding the new building.

“It attracts a lot of attention by visitors as they enter the gateway to historic downtown,” Bryant said. “Almost daily we have visitors and residents alike stop and compliment us on the look of the new facility.”



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Central American man charged with drug trafficking in Monroe County

A man was arrested on charges of possessing nearly one pound of cocaine following a routine traffic stop in Monroe County late Thursday.

Law enforcement sources estimate the street value of the alleged cocaine at between $75,000 and $100,000.

Ruben Eduardo Villeda Duarte, 26, a citizen of the Central American nation of Guatemala, charged by Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Smith with trafficking drugs in the first degree, an “A” felony that carries a potential sentence of 10 to 30 years.

He was arraigned before Monroe County District Court Judge Michael Wilson on Friday morning, who denied bail.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Villeda Duarte was stopped by Chief Deputy Joe Colston while driving a 2004 Toyota Corolla on U.S. Highway 24, traveling westbound just east of Madison at an alleged speed of 72 mph, 12 mph above the posted 60 mph limit.