|Demolition of the Knights Inn building began this week|
Construction on the toe berm began this week as equipment arrived and the west section of hotel building is demolished. The east side of GSC building L (the four units now owned by the HOA) is next to disappear. The trucks will be rolling to haul off the debris and begin hauling in dirt which will be placed in 24" high layers with geo-grid fabric installed between each layer and wrapped up the leading edge of the berm. Dirt will continue to be imported until the height of the berm reaches approximately 23 ft. There will be a drainage pipe installed vertically through the berm to capture water from the roofs and area surrounding GSC buildings L and M. This pipe will be tied into an existing 12" line that protrudes through the base of the hotel retaining wall and will be extended under the berm to flow, as it currently does, onto the parking lot which slopes to Bluff Street.
The expenditures relating to the landslide mitigation efforts now exceed $300,000 with Garden South eventually contributing nearly $240,000 including the money spent on past geotechnical studies and legal fees. The City of St. George is lending $70,000 towards the project which is to be repaid over the next few years by the participating owners. The increased insurance costs to owners continues to be a burden as insurance companies consider the higher risks of insuring the problem properties. Insurance premiums have doubled in the past year. Garden South has enough in reserves to fund it's share of the current known costs. The future is still uncertain as we have yet to address the costs of restoration of the condemned buildings and some of the deferred maintenance throughout the community.
|23 ft. of compacted dirt will replace the building.|
Will it work ??? ... that is the big question. The science and math says that the berm is designed with a 20% safety factor which is less than the 50% typically required by code for new construction. The safety factor is like an airplane which is required to have enough fuel on board to reach its destination, PLUS extra fuel in case there is a need to reach an alternate airport. In theory, there will be enough dirt placed at the toe of the slide to counterbalance the slippery ice cream scoop effect of the slide with an extra 20% to spare. However, no one can or will guarantee that this design will permanently fix the problem. For the slope to be declared safe by the engineers and city, it will need to be monitored and demonstrated that there has been no more movement. This will take some time. It will still be months before owners who are willing to invest in repairing the damage to existing buildings can begin restoration.
We will take this one step at a time, within the current budget that all owners have agreed on. We looked at many options. Quotes for proven landslide stabilization methods used by the DOT on mountain roads ranged from $3.500,000 to more than $6,000,000. At that price, the owners group decided that it did not make economic sense to use the more expensive stabilization methods. Attempts to secure government funding proved fruitless. The only option was for private owners to band together using private funds to do what they can to save their properties. The toe berm design has proven successful in some instances and we determined it was worth the investment to try and save the homes and business properties affected by this slow moving natural disaster given the limited financial resources available.