Santa Clara hits roadblock in landslide funding, investigates 2nd slide

Landslide in the Santa Clara Heights area of Santa Clara, Utah, March 12, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News

SANTA CLARA – Santa Clara City’s request for a pre-disaster mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, submitted in July, has been denied, Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenberg announced Wednesday at a Santa Clara City Council meeting. However, the city is already actively seeking other potential resources to help finance corrective efforts for the decades-long landslide on Truman Drive.

“We’re going to keep looking, keep working on this thing, try to do some things on our own if we can,” Rosenberg said.

The FEMA grant would have funded 75 percent of a plan devised by the city to purchase extremely high-risk properties in the Truman Drive slide area and tear down threatened homes on the properties; grade overburden material at the top of the slide area to remove weight; build an earthen berm at the base of the slope to stabilize it; and implement monitoring measures on the slope adjacent to the landslide to proactively monitor for future problems. Not receiving the hoped-for funding has indefinitely delayed these efforts.

“It’s not the best news,” Rosenberg said.

While Santa Clara wasn’t chosen for funding during this grant cycle, Rosenberg said, FEMA encouraged the city to reapply next year.

“They really liked our project,” he said. “They want us to apply again. They just have a limited amount of money and they funded some other projects ahead of us.”

Santa Clara residents have recently reported additional cracking in the Truman Drive slide area. Rosenberg said additional slide activity can occur after a great deal of rainfall, so that could be the reason, but a geotechnical engineer is coming to assess the situation and confer with the mayor and City Council about it. The engineer’s last visit to inspect the slide area was in May, Rosenberg said. While in Santa Clara this time, the engineer is also going to look into some new landslide activity that has been reported east of Truman Drive.

“It’s not part of the Truman Drive slide but it’s kind of adjacent to it,” Rosenberg said.

Speculatively, the two adjacent slides could potentially connect someday, the mayor said. The city wants to be as proactive as possible in addressing the current problems and any potential future problems.

The city is now looking into other possible funding sources to finance the project FEMA’s money was earmarked for, including any city funds that could potentially be used to pay for portions of the project.

“We’re going to brainstorm as a council what task we may be able to take on using city funds,” Rosenberg said.

On its own, the city doesn’t have the finances in its existing budget to purchase any additional properties in the slide area, he said, but one possibility, if excess funds can be allotted, would be to pay for excavation and tear down one house the city already owns in the slide area.

“The city’s trying to do everything we can,” Rosenberg said.

The Truman Drive landslide has been on the move in Santa Clara since the early 1980s, triggered by deep groundwater, Rosenberg said in a previous interview with St. George News. Several studies have been conducted in the slide area over the years and repair attempts have been made several times.

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10 Comments

  • Mr. S. Marty October 3, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Let’s make one thing clear. It’s okay for the city officals to work on securing funds for all the heights land slide repair and to purchase all the homes that they have caused damage to and the the ones that will receive damage later on. But what they shouldn’t do is try to improve the slide with out all other agencies responding with their own engineers to make sure the hill is repaired correctly. Three things have caused the slid area, supply water line leakage of city St. George. Over watering along with poor drainage engineered by educated dummies, and the root cause of the slide directly was caused by the uneducated engineer that thaught they could cut the base of the hill away to create lots for home, as we refer to this individual at BYUE studies of engineering, as the dumb engineer not to be.i am confident that if you go ask an old farmer down in the SC valley how to control water run off he will be glade to explain it to any of you over paid, Barney Fife, want to be engineers that need to have a little education to go along with the up education you received at the university you have attended. In fact ask the same farmer how they keep the water in the little pond north of The Dutchman Market, from flooding for 200 years before all the educated moved to the area and designed the drainage or in other words the flooding system that’s been installed all of Southern Utah. Hope fully you will all except the responsibility and blame for destroying years of historical artifacts and history with your inability to do your jobs. Know go on out get to work back in your offices with your computers and cell phones where you can watch inappropriate things then head of to chillie’s for the two hr lunch accomplishing nothing everyday.

  • Bender October 3, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I recognize all of these words MR. S. MARTY, but you have arranged them in such a way that they confuse me. Next time, don’t put your sentences in a blender before you hit the submit button.

    • Futurama Fan October 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Bender, you crack me up.
      This comment= hilarious!

  • Clive October 3, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Why would we want FEMA’s help? They’re just a big unconstitutional government agency sucking up tax dollars. We live a capitalist society, not a communist one. That means you fix your own mess. FEMA doesn’t, and I sure hope the city doesn’t.

    • Chris October 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      In case you have not noticed, the local politicians love to talk “capitalism”, “free markets” and “anti-federal government.” However, when a big project needs funding, they are first in line for a handout from the feds. Utah does not pull its own weight, and never has, when it comes to funding public works projects. This is the grand hypocrisy of Utah politics. Talk the talk, but god forbid, don’t walk the walk.

    • Bender October 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Spoken like a true Tea Party simpleton CLIVE. You’re likely knee deep in federal benefits. You just don’t want them other guys gettin any?

    • Koolaid October 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Your southern utah towns are socialist societies heavily dependent on government and controlled by the city and state governments.

  • Bobber October 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    It does seem strange that they would want federal dollars. That is the equivalent of asking Obama for help. Someone should man up and accept responsibility w/o expecting to be bailed out by the feds…

  • Koolaid October 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Wow! Incredible! Your imbecile council allows development in these zones and then you federal government haters expect the federal government to pay for the mess your elected officials created! You people are just S T U P I D !!!!

  • Bobber October 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Maybe Obama can personally hand them their FEMA checks the same day he comes to take their guns?…

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