Each lease will cost $1

The operators of boats big and small will benefit from a pair of lease agreements recently approved by the Hannibal City Council. One lease permits a temporary boat ramp to be created while the other lease allows tugboat docking along the riverfront.

"This is something we have been working on for quite some time now," said Andy Dorian, director of central services for the city, during the May 7 meeting of the council at city hall.

As part of Hannibal's riverfront renovation project a new marina featuring a public boat ramp will be constructed. But with completion of the project still months away, local fishermen and pleasure craft operators found themselves with no public access to the Mississippi River in Hannibal.

"We have been working on possible ways of adding a boat ramp," Dorian said.

A suitable site for a temporary boat ramp is owned by Canton Marine Towing adjacent to the Scipio Marina, just north of the Hannibal riverfront. Dorian said the parcel of land has previously been used to pull barges and large boats in and out of the water for repairs.

Canton Marine Towing has agreed to lease the property for $1 to the city for use as a temporary boat ramp.

Before the site is ready for use a 12-foot by 50-foot concrete product, that is frequently used for temporary boat ramps, will be installed. Dorian said the concrete material cost around $3,000.

The concrete product's usefulness will not end once the temporary boat ramp is no longer needed.

"We will pull it up and use it for an erosion-controlled project along the Bear Creek Trail," Dorian said. "We will be killing two birds with one stone."

In addition to providing access to the river, some grading work will occur at the site and some rock will be hauled in to create a parking area.

Work on the temporary ramp will commence once the river reaches an acceptable level. Dorian estimated that the grading and hauling of rock will take approximately a week or two to complete.

In exchange for the temporary boat ramp lease, which runs through Dec. 31, the city and towing company have agreed to a separate lease which will allow Canton Marine's tugboats to be docked on the riverfront through the end of this year.

"Canton Marine Towing is aware of the ongoing construction taking place on the riverfront and will adjust their boat access locations based on the construction progress," Dorian said.

The cost of the docking lease is also $1.