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Sam Penrod ReportingTwo weeks ago today the flood waters started to recede in Southern Utah. Now the clean up and repairs are underway, as well as plans about what to do in case it happens again.
Dump truck after dump truck, big rocks are being hauled in to the banks of the Santa Clara river, to protect the sandy shore from erosion. It was high and fast moving water that literally cut the ground out from underneath of at least 20 homes in the area. Now the owners of those homes are trying to figure out what to do with their mortgage companies.
Dan McArthur, Mayor of St. George: “From their standpoint, there is still money owed, but from the other people, there’s nothing left to owe on. And yet there’s people’s credit available, so we’re working through a tough situation.”
Yesterday state lawmakers and the governor announced 25 million dollars for the area, in the form of low interest loans to repair roads and bridges as well as water and sewer lines. The money could be available by next week.
At the Southgate golf course an inmate work crew is helping to dig out the driving range, while heavy machinery is being used to clear out debris from the river. And as the cleanup continues, there is some concern about heavy snow pack in the mountains, so local officials are making contingency plans, just in case the spring run off is too much.
Mayor Dan McArthur: "There is over 400 percent in some of the drainage areas and with the devastating fire we had last summer, there's nothing really to retain that moisture. And so we hope it comes off slow and there is still the potential, so we've asked people to keep their sandbags."
But after witnessing what's being called a 100-year flood, residents in Washington County are hoping they won't see history repeat itself.
Washington County is still waiting to hear if the area will be declared a federal disaster area by President Bush. State leaders hope that declaration will be made in the next few days.