The $7 million plan would breathe new life into an old facility currently in disrepair.

On Tuesday, the Hannibal City Council gave first reading to a bill that would rezone the former St. Elizabeth’s Hospital building from business to multiple-family.  The Belmont Development Company and Hill Tide Partners have expressed interest in purchasing the vacant structure located at 109 Virginia.  Bob Long of Hill Tide Partners outlined their plan to repurpose the facility into approximately 55 senior apartments. Long says one major roadblock is financing the project estimated at $7 million.  The zoning change enhances the odds of qualifying for federal and state tax credits.

In other business:

Citizen Dennis Kolarik urged the council to table the water treatment ordinance scheduled for a second and final reading. Kolarik believes ammonia could be removed much sooner than the three year deadline in the ordinance. A referendum to remove ammonia from the water supply within 90 days was approved by voters in April.  The Board of Public Works pursued legal action to set aside the referendum, citing the 90 day deadline as unreasonable.  That legal action prompted the city council to draft an ordinance also requiring removal of chloramines, but with a timeline of up to 3 years to convert to an alternate disinfection process. Despite Kolarik’s objections, the council unanimously approved the ordinance as written with the three year timeline.

Cost overruns prompted the council to put the Shinn Lane Roundabout Project on temporary hold.  City Manager Jeff LaGarce says bids received ranged from $1.7 to 1.9 million.  $940,000 was budgeted for the project.  LaGarce blames a tight construction deadline spanning winter-weather months, and liquidated damages (for breach of contract) as contributors to the high construction bids.  The original plan called for project completion by April 2018, when a new hotel on Shinn Lane is scheduled to open. Without the roundabout, the hotel would not have road access.  An alternate plan is now in the works that would allow hotel guests to have temporary access through the Abel’s Shell Station lot, until the roundabout is complete.

The council voted to reject all current Shinn Lane bids, put the project out for re-bidding in October, and award a contract in January for completion by November 2018.  It is hoped the longer timeline will allow for lower bids-more in line with engineering estimates.

As Hannibal’s Municipal Judge announces his retirement, the city must immediately begin the process of filling the position.  Judge Fred Cruise plans to retire September 7.  Candidates meeting the requirements are invited to submit a letter of interest by September 20.  The City Council will interview qualified candidates and make a selection at the October 3 meeting.  In the interim, 10th Circuit Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer-Shepherd will oversee the administration of municipal cases.  This could involve assigning other judges to hear cases until a replacement is appointed.

Two electrical projects are approved for the Police Department:  One will relamp the entire police headquarters three-floor building, changing from fluorescent to LED lighting.  Police Chief Lyndell Davis says currently 96 of 350 light fixtures are in some level of disrepair.  Lowest bidder Marold Electric of Quincy was awarded the bid at a price of $49,000.

Emergency generator access will also be addressed by low bidder Marold Electric.  Chief Davis says the current generator will only provide approximately 10% of Police Department needs during a power outage.  Davis says his department utilizes a large amount of IT equipment essential for department operations.  The upgraded system will allow most of the agency’s electrical needs to be met in the event of an extended power outage.  Marold Electric’s bid was $10,864.

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