Park’s slope sliding away, could pose risk

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 11:14 AM

The side of the large hill near the veterans monument at Sawmills Veterans Memorial Park is slowly sliding off the hill and could soon pose a danger of a landslide, a town engineering consultant said.

The slope failure is causing a “sloughing effect,” according to Benji Thomas, engineer. The bottom half of the grass near part of the disc golf course has a bubbling-up appearance due to soil from the upper part of the hill sliding downhill.

Thomas told the Sawmills Town Council on Tuesday night that if nothing is done to fix the slope, it will get worse.

“If you do nothing, the dirt above has nothing to support it and will fall,” Thomas said.

Thomas already brought out a geotechnical engineer to probe the hill, and he found that water is collecting in the lower half of the hill, which softens the soil. Thomas suggested that the affected area, about 2,500 square feet, needs to be dug out so that a pipe and fabric can be placed. With a pipe, water will have a place to flow out of the slope, so the soil won't remain wet.

Thomas said he did not know how much the project would cost, but Town Administrator Seth Eckard said that the town’s savings were healthy enough for “rainy day” problems like the slope failure.

Council members said they favored moving forward on the project immediately. They hope to have bids to consider at their September council meeting, but Thomas said bids might not be ready until October.

“We don’t need to put a Band-Aid on it,” Councilman Joe Wesson said. “We need to fix this. We’ve invested a lot of money in that park.”