ST. GEORGE – The St. George City Council heard a presentation from the chairman of the Hillside Reclamation Committee in its meeting Thursday concerning how the long-standing “scar” on the Black Hill may be fixed. The council also unanimously voted to initiate Stage I of its drought management plan, which places a mandatory restriction on the hours residents can water their lawns and gardens.
Reclaiming the scar
Committee Chairperson Jennifer Kraft said that the committee had been exploring ways to reclaim, or rather restore, the scarred portion of the Black Hill near the “D.”
The city is often blamed for the creation of the scar, Councilwoman Gail Bunker said, but originally the city had nothing to do with it. The scar has been created over the last 26 years through excavation for potential development. The issue has since become a recurring subject of conversation between citizens and city officials.
A large part of the property that has been excavated is owned by a single developer, Kraft said, though over the years the city has been able to buy parts of the property. One particular stretch of property now in the city’s possession is a 900-foot cut into the side of the hill originally meant to become a road. Known as the scar’s “brow,” this is where Kraft recommended the reclamation process start.
Kraft said 600 feet of the brow could be used as a demonstration area to show that the hillside could be successfully reclaimed. The process would involve scraping the hillside just below the brow and bringing up earth to recreate the pre-existing slope. The earth below the cut was originally part of the slope before it was cut into and dumped on the side of the hill to help create a foundation for the would-be road, Kraft said.
After the slope is created anew, the hillside would be seeded with native plants and rocks from the area would also be placed there. Where needed, rocks could also be artificially colored to match the natural colors of the Black Hill.
The price tag attached to the proposed 600-foot demonstration area is estimated to run around $91,000, Kraft said. The entire 900 feet could go up to $150,000.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to see what we can do and what can be done,” Kraft said.
Mayor Dan McArthur said many people are interested in seeing the hill reclaimed. One individual even donated $50,000 and several boulders from his property to the reclamation project.
The council did not vote on any measures to approve funding as a more full report on the Hillside Reclamation Committee’s efforts and recommendations will be presented in a future council meeting.
The city council voted unanimously to implement the Stage I restrictions on water usage. See St. George News full report: St. George implements drought management water restrictions.
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