St. George City Council considers repairing ‘scarred’ hillside

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jun 11, 2013

ST. GEORGE – Erasing the mistakes of the past: That’s what St. George Mayor Dan MacArthur says the city council is trying to do as they’re considering a proposal that would repair a development scar on the city’s West Black Hill.

Earlier this year, MacArthur formed a committee to look into repairing the excavated section of the hill. It’s been a part of the landscape for 26 years. Land developers cleared the area for condominiums, but MacArthur said there were no hillside ordinances at the time, and now many consider the red wall an eyesore.

“It’s a sore spot with our residents that have come in saying, ‘What is that? How did that ever happen?’ But you have to know the whole story,” MacArthur said. “St. George was not growing, it was just the opportunity. We did not have anything. A person had a right to develop their property.”

Now the city wants to make an effort to repair it. Last week the committee presented its findings to the city council. A project that would cost $150,000 was laid out to repair the city owned portion of the scar, a 900 foot section of bulldozed path to the south.

“Reconstruct the hill by pulling this burden, this overfill material that was pushed over the edge, pulling it back into that cut area,” explains Bob Nicholson, St. George Community Development Director. “Reseeding, and then bringing in some dark black volcanic cinders.”

The city has received a $50,000 anonymous donation, and MacArthur believes they can fund the rest through the city’s 2014 budget, but the city would also rely on volunteers and additional donations to complete the reseeding and staining of additional boulders.

“I’m hoping this week in our budget to pass that,” MacArthur said. “We have the money, and put that aside to fix that scar.”

As long as the city can secure the remaining funding, Nicholson said the project could be completed in a couple of months, but the full effects wouldn’t be seen for a couple of years.

MacArthur said they’re also working with the current landowners of the northern section of the scar, hoping to restore the largest part.

“They have come forth and said they want to fix it,” MacArthur said. “We’re hearing from them in a roundabout way that, ‘We’re sorry that happened, I don’t know that we want to continue to develop it, but we want to fix it.’”