O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh helps county keep Frank Scott Parkway extension project on the books

Norm Etling
Norm Etling

It has taken the better part of a decade for this moment to arrive, but the Frank Scott Parkway extension could finally get rolling.

Village of Shiloh trustees voted Monday, Feb. 27 to help St. Clair County appease the owners of the last two pieces of property needed for the new road.

The project will extend Frank Scott Parkway approximately three miles. The new road would run from Cross Street in Shiloh, cross Main Street, and extend to Maple Street, which intersects with Air Mobility Drive, also known as Illinois 158.

Frank Scott Parkway is in St. Clair County’s jurisdiction, not the village’s. But the county has had trouble securing land from a handful of property owners who have been holding out for more money since 2008, when their properties were first appraised, Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier.

“In the last two years, there were landowners that had their heels dug in with attorneys who weren’t going to budge, and we’ve been able to pursue them one at a time to sell their land,” Vernier said.

The Shiloh Board of Trustees unanimously passed a motion to use tax increment finance (TIF) funds to make up the difference between what St. Clair County was willing to pay and the amount property owners had demanded — $38,200 in total between the two property owners.

Marilyn Thorne owns 2.6 acres, which was initially appraised at $133,500 in 2008, but she was asking for $150,000.

“But the county was only allowed to pay her the $133,500, so the village will be paying the difference of $16,500,” Village Clerk Brenda Kern said.

Nancy Austin, who lives in California, is the controlling party for a land trust of 8.1 acres, which was valued in 2008 at $83,000. Norm Etling, St. Clair County assistant engineer, said that property value increased since to $163,300, according to a re-appraisal last year.

“Nancy Austin and the land trust wanted $185,000, but the county could only pay the higher of the two appraisals — $163,300 — so the village will be covering the $21,700 now,” Kern said.

The village’s “TIF B” fund has more than enough to cover the two payouts. The fund’s balance is in the ballpark of $750,000, village administrator John Marquart said.

“TIF B reaches from the eastern side of the community to north of Cross Street to Shiloh Station Road, crosses Air Mobility Drive and follows south around the base, but includes the old Shiloh Main Street in the downtown area of Shiloh. The village hall, public works buildings and the parks are also included, too,” Marquart said.

Mark J. Turner, president of Memorial Hospital Regional Health Services, said he’s glad the deal is finally done.

“We are very pleased about this and look forward to what it means for the community as well as for enhancing access to our hospital campus,” Turner said. “I want to acknowledge and thank St. Clair County and the village of Shiloh in working with us and the landowners to make this a reality.”

Etling said that Turner was instrumental in getting one of the property owners, James Dunn, to have a meeting with county representatives, which was held at the hospital. The 6.4 acres owned by Dunn was valued at $231,700 in 2008, which dropped to $128,550 last year.

“He accepted the highest of the two appraised amounts, and it’s done now,” Etling said. “But there were still issues with the other property owners to accept an amount of compensation that comported with the appraised values, which is why it was put on the back burner — we couldn’t move forward,” Etling said.

Throughout the delay, Etling said Jim Fields, county engineer, and Randy Georgen, engineer of design, and others, “have all been diligently working” on the project.

“So it’s not like they stopped, but it kinda of got put on the back burner because of issues with the landowners. We can only offer what the appraisals were, because that’s what sets the value of the land,” he said.

Looking ahead, Etling said, the project’s design and engineer plans will all have to be redone before the county will have an accurate project cost and time frame slated for the construction to commence.

“We have to get it redesigned, and then IDOT has typically 60-90 days to review it, but it depends on their work load. Then it has to be advertised for a letting, which is when the contractors turn in their bids. It all depends on which IDOT letting date we can get on. The low bidder award process could also take several more weeks, and that’s assuming they come in within our budget,” Etling said.

Optimistically speaking, Etling foresees construction beginning as early as 2018.

“Again, it’s all weather dependent, too,” he said.

St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern was unable to comment prior to publication.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch