Hannibal Riverfront Plan Stirs Controversy
One might say the fireworks show continued in Hannibal City Hall, July 5.
It was standing room only in the city council chambers on Tuesday evening. Many came to hear about the $5.4 million renovation of Hannibal’s riverfront.
Parks and Recreation Director Andy Dorian addressed the council regarding the plan, known as “Plan C”. Plan C eliminates the marina. And that’s where the contention comes in…
Some in the crowd became vocal with dismay during Dorian’s presentation. At one point, Mayor Hark scolded and quieted the opposition with his gavel.
Councilman Kevin Lionberger also expressed displeasure with eliminating the marina. He told Dorian he could not support his Plan C. Dorian replied the plan was not the “Andy Dorian” Plan, but was a plan approved by the City and the Park Board after public input.
Lionberger then made a motion that received applause from some in the crowd. He requested two citizens be allowed to address the council and make their case for keeping the marina.
Mayor Hark said he had already been approached by two citizens, one for the marina and one against. It was decided to allow both sides to speak.
Klaus Stendebach outlined his plan that would keep some of the boat slips but reduce the cost of the riverfront renovation by $1.8 million.
Hal Benedict of the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of Plan C. Benedict said the plan is an opportunity to attract more riverboats, economic development, and “milennials” to live and work in the community.
A motion was made to vote on the Plan C. It passed by a 4 to 2 margin. Councilmen Knickerbocker, Dobson, Ipson, and Mayor Hark voted in favor. Councilmen Lionberger and Van Hoose voted against.
Rob Myers of Hannibal attended the council meeting and expressed frustration with the outcome. Myers believes it's a small faction of the community pushing for the plan that removes the boat slips. He says it's not only the marina, but a piece of history lost. Myers said the people got a dose of "well orchestrated city politics". Myers hinted at the possibility of initiating a petition drive to save the marina.