Hannibal Courier-Post

Riverfront plans unveiled to public

Parks and Recreation Director Andy Dorian visits with attendees at an open house unveiling possible plans for the future of Hannibal's riverfront.
Posted: May. 11, 2016 8:16 pm
Nearly 100 people turned out Wednesday to take a look at the two Hannibal riverfront options up for consideration.
One of the options would retain the marina, which was a point of debate during last year’s riverfront task force meetings at City Hall. The other plan would sacrifice the marina in favor of additional park space.
“I was very impressed. The two plans look very complete,” said Cheri Benedict. “I’m very excited about the future use (of the riverfront) by the cruise lines and the potential to bring even more people into downtown Hannibal.”
“I think they look nice,” said Caleb Lionberger, the teen-age son of City Councilman Kevin Lionberger, of the plans. “I think it will make the downtown look better.”
“We were very impressed,” said Cathy Smith, who attended the unveiling with her husband, Jim. “Both proposals were good. It will be interesting to see which one they decide on.”
“It will definitely be an improvement,” added Jim Smith. “Something needed to be done to upgrade the area.”
Not unexpectedly, opinions were divided over Concept A, that would see the marina filled in, and Concept B, that would retain the small craft docking area.
“I did prefer concept A,” said Benedict. “I did like the additional park space rather than the marina. Perhaps if I had a boat docked down there I would have a different feeling, but I do not. I feel additional park space would be utilized by more individuals than what’s occurring right now.”
Holding a different view was Lionberger.
“I liked Plan B because it has the option of having boat slips,” he said. “I think if you have boat slips a lot of people will want to put their boats in down there. I think we’re one of them. We tend to go fishing every summer and it’s great just to be able to go down there and go fishing right away.”
The Smiths question the costs associated with keeping the marina deep enough to service boats.
“I hate to see it (marina) go, but it’s not really supported that much,” said Jim Smith. “It’s extremely expensive to maintain.”
“Dredging it every few years and maintaining the docks, those are additional expenses,” added Cathy Smith.
Speaking of costs, both options will require a significant investment. The estimated cost of Option A is nearly $5.5 million. Option B carries a price tag of $6.3 million.
While grants will be pursued to help cover the chosen option, it is believed the undertaking is fundable without grant dollars.
The next step in the selection process will be to digest the public input provided Wednesday, and which is expected over the next week or so after the plans are placed on display at City Hall.
“The basket is full of comments. We’ll review those over the next few days and see what people have been saying,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Parks & Recreation Department.
City Manager Jeff LaGarce was upbeat about the public reaction he heard.
“Most of the people I talked to actually like the plans, either plan. They think they are both nicely done plans. I didn’t have anyone say this doesn’t look good, let’s start over, so that’s encouraging,” he said.
After all the public input has been reviewed, the next steps will be taken, according to Dorian.
“We’ll look at what the public comment is over the next couple of weeks and see if there needs to be a wholesale change or minor changes,” he said. “Ultimately the goal would be to bring a plan to the Park Board for approval and then after that, take what they approve to Council for approval.”
Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com