Riverfront project at a standstill

Hannibal’s riverfront project is at a standstill. The city needs a permit to relocate mussels, the little creatures that are at the bottom of the river, to a safe location before they can move forward and boaters are hoping this project stays on track.

Mike Vaia has his boat docked at the river front’s marina. He said the area is convenient.

"We’re down here at least three or four times a week. If nothing else, just going out for an hour or two or on the weekends, it’s all day," he said.

The city is planning to revitalize the riverfront but for the project to move forward, mussels need to be removed from the area.

"They have a dive contractor that will drop down to the bottom of the river. They’ll survey the areas where the project is going to occur and what they’re looking for is any of the mussel species that are there, they’ll document those and specifically if any of the few federally listed species are there." said Travis Moore with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

City officials said they still plan to move forward with the project because of how important the riverfront is to Hannibal.

"I think people are really going to enjoy themselves while they’re down there. Whether they are boating, getting off a boat or Hannibal residents on evenings taking their families down there or tourists coming to town or whomever." said City Manager Jeff LaGarce.

Vaia hopes the project doesn’t take longer than expected, "It would be nice to have a place to access gas. It would nice to have a little extra security so people’s boats don’t get vandalized."

The conservation department expects the permit to survey and relocate the mussels to be issued within the next couple of days.

Construction on the new riverfront should start this fall.

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