Metro-East News

Shiloh to help pay for $8 million mine subsidence remediation at shopping center

A problem known for plaguing the metro-east—mine subsidence—has hit Shiloh’s Green Mount Crossing and helping the estimated $8-million rehabilitation project is one of the village’s top priorities, according to Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier.

“Unfortunately there’s mine subsidence going on in the Dierbergs complex, and we’re going to work with them to do some things to try and remediate the (continuations) of mine damage,” Vernier said.

The Village Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to contribute some village funds to reimburse and aid Green Mount Crossing LLC (GMC LLC) business district, representing the businesses at Green Mount Crossing shopping center at the corner of Frank Scott Parkway and Green Mount Road in Shiloh, for the mine subsidence remediation that is “badly needed,” Vernier said.

All trustees were present except for Mark Kurtz, who has been absent the past four meetings due to personal reasons.

“I can assure you, it’s going to get more in-depth as we move on, last night was just the beginning,” Vernier said. “I think everyone realizes the magnitude of the situation, and we’ve got to do what we can to keep all the stores in good condition.”

Bids for remediation work are still under evaluation currently, but SCI Engineering in O’Fallon estimates a total cost of $8-million to stop underground mine subsidence from causing further damage at the shopping center.

“I believe the project will be starting pretty rapidly though, I’m told within the next three weeks, and they have to do it,” Vernier said. “(Which is why) the word ‘reimburse’ was used in the resolution because there are so many parties involved in this, and it may not be until January before all terms and dollar amounts will come together.”

Village Attorney Terry Bruckert confirmed terms will not be drawn up and brought before the board for approval until January 2016.

Building cracks investigated

Michaels representative Brent Beumer told the village they began noticing building cracks on the inline retail space between Michaels and Ashley Furniture and within the Ashley Furniture store, too, leading SCI Engineering to be called in to evaluate the cause and the damage.

“SCI analyzed the cracks and determined the cause,” Kern said. “At first he said they thought it may be just the ground settling, but he said since Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 SCI continued to observe the subsurface to explore development of mitigation options.”

In August, a crack in the central portion of the Michaels store was identified, as was an increase in the width of the cracks near the vestibule and the front of the store, Kern noted.

“They also discovered additional cracks and separation between the building walls and the foundation on the Ashley Furniture Store and the inline retail spaces between Michaels and Dierbergs store,” Beumer said. “SCI concluded that the building movements were increasing and merited regular measurements.”

Based on SCI’s recommendation, Michaels engaged Thouvenot, Wade and Moerchen Inc to conduct a baseline survey of the building conditions and perform three-dimensional monitoring of the building movement, which is on real-time.

Ongoing investigation and surveying is proving increased foundation and building movement, Kern said.

In late August, SCI and a developer met with Illinois Department of Natural Resources Abandoned Mine Lands (division) Robert Gibson, who has extensive experience evaluating ground movements for evidence of subsidence.

All parties concurred mine subsidence was the culprit of the cracks and movements.

Although maps indicating the location of old abandoned mines existed prior to building the shopping center, Norm Etling, village engineer, said mine subsidence remediation most likely wasn’t needed prior to development of the complex because they were all going to be one-story buildings.

“I think because a multiple story building puts a heavier load, where as these are all one-story buildings,” Etling said. “So like when you go up like the Drury Inn (across the street from Green Mount Crossing) or St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, or Memorial-East Hospital in Shiloh, or the Wingate school (are) all multiple stories, it makes sense why remediation was done prior to building.”

In order to prevent further damage to Ashley Furniture, Michaels, Dierbergs and surrounding stores, SCI recommended a full mine grout be conducted.

According to SCI, time is of the essence, and the parties involved want to start as soon as possible, so they are currently going over contractor bids.

Kern said the process to stop further damage from occurring is an expensive one that will involve going nearly 160 feet down into the ground and possibly filling with grout-like material.

But, consumers need not worry.

Etling said shopping now, and over the holidays, will be in full swing unless otherwise noted.

“There’s a structural engineer that monitors (the buildings) on a weekly basis,” Etling said. “They’re open and the structural engineer certified them as safe. TWM was out there (Tuesday) morning monitoring some of the points.”

The owner of commercial development is listed in the draft resolution documents as GMC LLC with a special partnership between Capital Land Company and Dierbergs Market, according to John Marquart, village administrator.

TIF and business district

The area of Green Mount Crossing sits in a tax increment finance district commonly called TIF A by the village and was established May 18, 1998. But that is not related to the creation of the GMC LLC business district, because the latter’s revenue will be based on the sales tax — no greater than 1 percent.

“The TIF uses real estate differential revenue and the business district adds a sales tax of up to 1 percent, but they haven’t set the rate yet,” Village Clerk Brenda Kern said.

Kern explained with TIF districts, basically, the differential real estate rate is the rate that exists from the moment the TIF is created, and then any increase in revenue funnels into the TIF for a certain amount every year in order to help fund construction of the development.

“So they take whatever undeveloped land’s value, as if it just sat there,” Kern said. “Business owners get confused, too—if they’re in a TIF district they’ll call thinking they’ll be paying more, but really that’s just a misconception.”

The mine subsidence issue surfaced at the Committee at Large meeting Oct. 26 when the board added an agenda item due to the report from representatives of Michaels—and thereafter others like Ashley Furniture and Dierbergs grocery store—that mine subsidence damage was in full force.

Although, the business district had mine subsidence insurance, Kern explained it is a policy that merely covers damage to the building structures, not the cost of remediation to stop further damage from occurring.

“Michaels was the first business to notice it and since they’ve been doing a lot of investigation, and while they’re still in that stage of the game, but they don’t want to wait to fix it, so there’s an urgency on their part to go ahead and stop additional damage,” Kern explained.

There are three components of the agenda item approved Monday night.

The first is to set forth a letter of intent for village fund contributions; and, the second is a resolution approving the project funding agreement between the village and the Green Mount Crossing LLC. Lastly, a resolution approving the agreement for technical services and assistance by and between the village and Moran Economic Development.

“It’s just so sad when this happens, like when Grandpa’s (in Swansea) had serious damage from an abandoned mine underneath it (in 1999),” Kern said.