A compost lot sprouted considerable debate during Tuesday's Hannibal City Council meeting.

The issue was added to the agenda- during the meeting- at the request of Councilman James VanHoose. VanHoose expressed reservations about moving the city's compost lot from 7th and Colfax to 9th and Warren Barrett Drive. He also said he heard concerns from a couple of businesses near the new location.

Street Department Supervisor Mike McHargue said a privacy fence is being installed at the new location to hide the brush from street view. He said the new lot is larger and more convenient.

McHargue said the old location will now be used to store fill dirt that is being donated to the city. He said a construction project in New London will bring around 160 loads of dirt that can be used for upcoming projects including the riverfront and the new tourism center. McHargue said the old compost location is in close proximity to the equipment that will be needed to load out the dirt, thus improving efficiency.

Paul Tomko had a different view. He told the council he plans to open a vehicle and boat storage business near the new location. He said two other businesses in the area are not in favor of the change. Tomko expressed concerns about more traffic from vehicles entering and exiting a busy Warren Barrett Drive. He said the old location was not an eyesore and Colfax was not a high traffic road. As far as the dirt storage, Tomko said there are other sites in the area the city could utilize.

Councilman Van Hoose made a motion to not move the compost lot to the new location. However, Councilmember Melissa Cogdal asked for more time to study the issue and contact businesses in the area. It was decided to table the issue until the next meeting in two weeks.

In other business:

  • The council passed a resolution to commit the resources necessary to renovate and maintain Huckleberry Park Pond.  The resolution was needed in order to apply for a 50-50 land and water grant. The city plans to excavate and seal the leaking pond, as well as add a handicapped accessible dock.  It is hoped the site will one day be used for community fishing events.
  • City Collector Phyllis Nelson updated the council on delinquent business licenses.  She said 17 business have not acquired a current license.  The council gave the go-ahead to send 30- day notices to the 17 businesses.  If there is no appeal in 30 days, names of the remaining businesses will be forwarded to the police department. Officers will then follow up to make sure the business is no longer operating in the city.
  • Hannibal now has an official song:  Joel Booth and Gail Bryant presented a request to the council to adopt "Huck Finn Blues" by Brad Paisley as the official song of the City of Hannibal. The council voted unanimously in favor of the idea.  Booth says the song captures the spirit of historic Hannibal.  He first brought the idea to the 2019 Bicentennial Committee, who also unanimously voted in favor of the proposal.

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