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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