It’s been over 50 years since Hannibal’s riverfront has had a facelift.

The latest design for the riverfront renovation was unveiled Tuesday evening. Parks and Recreation Director Andy Dorian and Mark Bross of the engineering firm Klingner and Associates presented the updated plans to the Hannibal City Council.
Bross told the council the riverfront wall design has been changed from sheet metal to rip-rap rock construction. Second Ward Councilman Mike Dobson expressed concern about the change. Bross said the appearance would be much improved from what he termed “junk”—i.e. broken concrete chunks-- which are currently piled at the riverfront. Bross said large stones will be used that weigh 150-250 pounds each. Bross also said use of thicker steel than originally planned would have been necessary. The rising cost of the steel would have put the project way over budget.


Mark Bross said the design incorporates many features that the community can be proud of. Those include a 48-slip marina, dual boat ramp, a park-like setting with trees and grass, 14-foot sidewalks, adequate lighting, and docking space for two riverboats, as well as Canton Marine and Towing and the Mark Twain River boat. Andy Dorian added the area will be ADA accessible and offers a safe area off the roadway for walkers and runners.

Dorian says the project will allow for future artistic expression.  An unnamed donor has expressed interest in funding some type of added riverfront feature that could approach     " six figures."  Bross added the project is "vanilla" enough to allow for future add-ons.


The revised plans will next be presented to the Park Board, Tourism Board, and the Board of Public Works. It is expected to come back before the council for final approval at the April 17 or May 1 meeting.
Bross says the permitting process requires a public notice period before approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Two government agencies have submitted comments. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requiring relocation of mussels from the riverfront. The mussels will be moved from the riverfront to a nearby cove of Bear Creek, at a cost of $60,000 to $80,000. MoDNR has requested more information regarding the history of Nipper Park. Bross said once that information is provided, he expects no further issues with DNR, since they have no jurisdiction as no federal funds are involved.
The permit is expected to be received in 60 days. Once received, bids will be sought over the summer. Major work is expected to begin in October. Bross says in a best case scenario, depending on weather and flooding issues, much of the project could be completed by the summer of 2019.

In other business:

  • The city council chambers will be transformed to a theater stage in July.  Joe Anderson of Bluff City Theater received approval to stage a production known as the "Cotton Patch Gospel".   City Manager Jeff LaGarce said the performance dates July 23- Aug. 4 would not conflict with council sessions. Councilman Colin Welch asked if approval would establish a precedent. Mayor Hark stated this type of event had never been held in city hall, but council discretion would always be involved in any future requests.  City Attorney James Lemon said this circumstance was similar to use of city-owned park facilities and parking lots.
  • A Resolution is approved deeding city-owned properties at 205 Hill and 325 Main (Grant's Drug Store and J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office) to the Mark Twain Home Foundation.
  • The Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan for the years 2019-2023 received approval.  City Manager Jeff LaGarce described the plan as fiscally prudent.

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