O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh Three Springs—site for goose hunting, but no new retailers

Nearly 100 goose decoys sitting between two false shallow ponds created by pumping water from the Three Springs Lake.
Nearly 100 goose decoys sitting between two false shallow ponds created by pumping water from the Three Springs Lake. Steve Nagy

For years, the land at Green Mount Road and Frank Scott Parkway West earmarked for the McEagle Properties development has sat idle, except for the American Eagle Credit Union that opened two years ago.

But, while no development or anchor tenants have surfaced on the Three Springs at Shiloh land, that doesn’t mean there’s been no activity.

The developers who own the land have been using the site for goose hunting in the fall, something that has upset neighbors and at least one village trustee.

Trustee Mark Kurtz has blamed Mayor Jim Vernier for allowing this to go on.

“This goes straight to the cause of many individuals’ distrust in politicians,” Kurtz said, “but what this is saying to the community is that I have a right to do what I please for my family and friends.”

“I know I had four residents complain of gunfire to me because of this ‘private hunting club.’ I instructed them to contact the police and, according to the residents, they were informed by the police they could do nothing as they were friends of the mayor. I also find this particularly disheartening as even if the duck blind is not on (a nearby public) park property, the mayor apparently had permission from McEagle to utilize their property for this duck blind.

“And the use of the water from a public park without notification of the board boarders on official misconduct, in my opinion.”

Vernier denied that the owners of the property are violating the law by goose hunting on their private property and continues to support it, despite no issuance yet this season of a permit to discharge firearms within village limits by developers Paul McKee and his son, Chris.

Vernier said he believes the complainants have been exaggerated.

“I positively know that they haven’t started shooting yet and I plan on giving them permission very soon, as the geese hunting season just started last Saturday, Oct. 24,” Vernier said.

For years, complaints have been made to the village and the Shiloh Police Department from local residents of Ashford Farms subdivision and Shiloh resident Joyce Metcalf, as well as others, who have complained of noise disturbance and safety concerns attributed to hearing the constantly running generator pump, used to pump water to attract geese, and the sounds of shotgun blasts coming from Three Springs, according to police reports.

“I am blown away that Vernier would continue to grant special favors for the McKees (by) granting permission for the gun shooting within Shiloh village limits. It seems he would want to distance himself from them, instead of coming across as being a protector and a buddy,” Metcalf said.

“The pump continued to run daily most of this past week, but never at night. I heard the first gunshots at 7 a.m. today (Saturday, Oct. 24). I guess it will be an all-day, every day thing now for the next three months. Again. This is all incredibly disgusting and shameful on so many levels.”

Metcalf pleaded to the village board via email last year to stop the hunting near her property. According to Metcalf, not one trustee or staff member talked with or e-mailed her back except for Kurtz and Village Engineer Norm Etling.

Etling, Village Administrator John Marquart and Village Clerk Brenda Kern have all agreed with Metcalf that those who object to the shooting should file reports with the Shiloh Police Department. However, on many occasions in 2013 and 2014, Metcalf called the Shiloh Police every time the shooting or pumping of the water took place from the Three Springs Lake onto the private property owned by the McKees, but no action was taken.

Although Metcalf has already started being bothered by the shooting going on next door, Shiloh Police Chief Jim Stover said on Wednesday that no one had filed complaints about it so far this year.

McEagle Properties, located in O’Fallon, Mo., still advertises on its website for the development, despite the McEagle Land Acquisitions LLC being one of eight defendants in a foreclosure lawsuit enacted by PNC Bank and others.

Neither the McKees nor representatives of PNC Bank could be reached for comment.

Three Springs was proposed as a mixed-use, estimated $750 million project to bring homes, business parks, medical buildings and retail and commercial development to the village. For years, it was rumored that Costco was pegged to be one of the anchor tenants.