The pieces of a major development puzzle are starting to fall into place for the old St. Elizabeth Hospital building. But converting it into 55 apartments still poses challenges before the hammers start swinging.

The Hannibal City Council voted to temporarily acquire the vacant structure located at 109 Virginia at no cost, subject to an environmental site assessment.  If the inspection shows the property is suitable for a $200,000 DNR grant, the city would use the funds to remove asbestos from the premises.  The city would then deed the property over to the Hilltide/Belmont Development Group.  The $200,000 grant (only available to government entities) is an essential piece of the development puzzle. The developers must reduce renovation costs below $9.5 million in order to qualify for Missouri Housing Development Commission tax credits.  Without the tax credits, the project will not move forward.

Another piece of the puzzle received final approval by the council Tuesday evening.  The old hospital will be rezoned from local business to multiple-family, allowing for redevelopment into senior housing.

In other business:

  • The council rejected bids for reinforcing the Grand Avenue Binwall near the intersection with Broadway.  The city budgeted $300,000.  The two bids ranged from $508,000 to $798,000.  City Manager Jeff LaGarce says the steep slopes, uncertainty about extracting shale, and timing during the peak construction season contributed to the high bids.  City staff will test the shale to determine hardness, and extend the bidding window.  More cost-effective methods to secure the wall will also be explored.  LaGarce says the project is important, but can be postponed pending further study.  He notes the wall is not at-risk of collapse.
  • Restructuring of the Street Department receives council approval.  One Lead Maintenance Worker position will be replaced by a Street Department Foreman who will serve as number two in command, under the Street Department Supervisor. While the change does not affect the number of employees, it will result in an estimated $2400 pay increase for the new foreman. Mike McHargue is the new Street Department Supervisor.  He says two employees have expressed interest in the new position.
  • Bob Stevenson gave an update on the Board of Public Works Chloramine Replacement Project involving the water supply.  The BPW is currently working with Calgon on a pilot test using granular activated carbon in various stages of water purification.  Stevenson told the council three water pumps from Calgon failed, affecting two of four test columns.  A pump supplied by BPW is working and some data has been collected.  Two other columns were not affected by pump failures and have been producing consistent data since August.  Samples have been sent in to a lab for analysis, but results are not back yet.  It is hoped the testing phase will be complete in about 6 months.
  • A small parcel of city-owned land along Grand Avenue will be sold to Joseph Bogue of the Mark Twain Dinette.  Bogue owns land adjacent to the lot, which is between Elm and Olive Streets.  The 4,290 square foot lot known as 200 Olive Street will be sold for $500.  Bogue plans to use the land for combined commercial and residential purposes, which is consistent with zoning codes.
  • The City Wide Cleanup takes place October 28 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.  It will be held at the same location as last year-- South Main Street.  Public Works Superintendent Brian Chaplain says no yard waste, liquids, or electronics will be accepted.  Tires off rims will be accepted at a charge of $3 per tire. Allied Waste will provide the disposal services.
  •  The 69th Annual Hannibal Band Day is Tuesday, October 10.  Numerous marching bands will parade down Broadway beginning around 3 p.m.

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