NORTH SALT LAKE — Springhill Circle doesn’t exist anymore.
The houses that were slowly torn apart by the landslide beneath them are long gone, along with sidewalks, street signs and any other trace of the cul-de-sac that once stood here. All that remains is a circle of gravel and the sound of rushing water that the city plans to safely divert away from the unstable ground.
“We’ll collect all the spring water into an open channel and take it down to Barry Circle, where it can connect into our storm drain system,” said North Salt Lake City Engineer Paul Ottoson. “Then we’ll revegetate the area with natural grasses.”
City officials awarded the bid for this stage of the project last week, the last of more than a year of work designed to take as much pressure off the landslide as possible. For those residents living just outside the landslide’s boundaries, however, the resulting emptiness and quiet has been a challenge.
“It’s kind of lonely,” said Charlene Tanner, who lives next to the empty space that was once Springhill Circle. “We used to have neighbors, but now we’re one of the last houses on the street. We’ve put in a security system recently because we feel like we’re basically here alone.”
The Tanners have never had any structural trouble with their home, but the sidewalk and street were regularly torn up for repairs. Though they agree it will be good if the natural park planned by the city can keep the ground steady, it’s led to other fears.
“I’m afraid (the park) will just be an opening for people who don’t have the best intentions,” Tanner said. “We don’t want people to come up here and have drinking parties or something.”
The FEMA grant the city used to buy out the rest of the homeowners means that no structures can be built on the property, including parking spaces.
There are still a few remnants of the structures that were once there, including a small section of fence near the trees and a decorative hedge that no longer has a yard to protect. Recent moisture has created an impromptu waterfall where sidewalks once stood, carving out a path in the dirt before disappearing back into the ground.
On the street below, only one home had to be cleared out of the landslide’s path. Though a swing hanging in a tree is the only sign of the people who once lived there, the neighbors aren’t worried.
“We have stakes in our backyard, and a professor from the University of Utah brings his students out the beginning of every summer,” said Michael B. (last name withheld by request), who lives next door. He and his family moved into the house a year ago, well after the first demolitions at Springhill Circle.
“We did our homework,” he continued. “The house has been here 30 years, and it’s moved less than half an inch.”
Ottoson, for his part, is happy to hear it.
“It’s nice to finish this project up,” he said. “We won’t have to worry about homes continually moving in the landslide.”