The Jackson Town Council unanimously supported an agreement reached by Walgreens and the Town of Jackson. Town officials have been working since 2014 on a collective fix and an arrangement with Walgreens that would allow mitigation of the landslide.
In the agreement, Walgreens will convey all title and possession to the property currently occupied by Walgreens and make a one-time payment of $1 million to the Town of Jackson to cover the costs of demolishing the building on site, adding ten feet of compacted fill on top of the demolition property and for 50 percent of the construction of a permanent sheer key on this parcel of property.
The deal will allow the Town of Jackson to take immediate possession of the Walgreens parcel enabling work crews to begin the remediation process to stabilize the landslide above West Broadway.
“We are happy with this agreement,” stated Bob McLaurin, Town Manager. “This is one more piece in a very complex puzzle to address this situation.”
In 1967 active quarry work began on this tract of land and since then, roughly 83,500 cubic yards of earth were removed before the 2014 landslide occurred. A majority of this extraction, over 80 percent, was removed prior to 1980 by WYDOT and a private quarry operation.
“A good mediation involves compromise on all sides,” said McLaurin. “By acquiring this land we are able to control this parcel of land and immediately begin the stabilization of the hillside. We no longer need to gain permits and easements which may or may not have been available. The safety of our community members and the protection of public infrastructure were, and will continue to be, our top priorities.”
In August of 2016 Teton County voters approved a $6 million SPET initiative to fund the stabilization of the landslide above West Broadway. Since then the Town has been actively working on preparing for the efforts needed to stabilize the hillside above West Broadway by installing a temporary storm water drainage system above the slide area, unweighting the top of the hill by removing a house near the head scarp of the slide and building a temporary access road for residents in efforts to be prepared for the construction work slated for the spring of 2017.
The Town of Jackson continues to monitor movements on the West Broadway Landslide. Since January measuring instruments have indicated that surface movements have increased due to the precipitation that the valley received. Public Works crews have also removed several rocks from Budge Drive that descended from the landslide and the Town’s geotechnical experts still caution the public about potential debris landing in the street.
“It’s in the public interest to resolve this,” McLaurin stated. “It is an issue about public safety, not only for our community, but for the economy. Leaving that landslide hanging above Broadway is like having the Sword of Damocles directly above our utilities and threatening not only access to Yellowstone, but water service to the better part of West Jackson.”
The Town of Jackson would like to extend a note of appreciation to the community for supporting the August SPET initiative to stabilize the landslide. The $6 million generated by this sales tax when combined with the money from Walgreens, Teton County, and the State of Wyoming will provide the funding necessary to stabilize the hillside. The agreement with Walgreens will allow the immediate access to the property so that construction can begin in a timely fashion reducing risk involved with prolonging mitigation efforts and potentially keeping construction costs lower than they would be in the future.
Demolition of the building on this parcel is tentatively scheduled to begin in May. Various building materials from the structure such as siding, doors, windows and wire will be recycled for future use. Concrete from the building will be utilized for fill at the base of the landslide. The Town of Jackson is planning on hosting future Open Houses to discuss the progress of the construction and timelines of efforts this summer.
For additional information please contact Carl Pelletier, the Town of Jackson’s Public Information Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (307) 734-3488.