SHILOH – At the Shiloh Committee at Large meeting, Dennis Maher, director of sales for Fort Worth, Texas- based Buxton Co., spoke to trustees about the status of economic and commercial development in the Village.
The Village of Shiloh entered into an approximate $50,000 per year contractual agreement with Buxton in June of 2018. While Buxton is known as one of the largest aggregators of consumer analytics in the nation, trustees expressed frustration at the March 25 meeting that the company has not done enough to meet the needs for the community.
Maher said since Buxton has begun representing Shiloh, they have performed analysis identifying which retailers would be willing to locate within the market and have made the “initial outreach to those retailers.”
Maher spoke of the importance of trying to touch base with potential retailers on a weekly basis. “Just to be that squeaky wheel and get in front of them to try and engage in those conversations.”
“I think implementation wise and outreach, we can definitely strengthen on,” Maher said. “We will do that together, whether it’s looking for additional contacts, new contacts — but creating a better system in that outreach.”
“I think overall with the evaluation we have done is great,” he said. “Retail recruitment overall takes time, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. On our end, we would ask for patience.”
Maher said representatives from Buxton are communicating with Village administrator John Marquart bi-weekly.
When asked by trustee Colleen Powers if the Village has heard feedback from Costco, Marquart said they have not heard whether the business would be willing to locate in Shiloh.
Trustee Mark Herrmann brought up the discussion of the retail market and what its status will be 10 to 15 years down the line.
“Are we going to be buying stuff from Amazon?” Herrmann asked the board. “Are these stores going to want to put up more brick and mortars?”
Herrmann said the Village may need to get ahead of the curve and see what would still be here in 10 years.
“When we’re looking at retail, we are looking at healthy retail,” Maher said. “We are looking at the experience you cannot get online.”
Maher said healthy retail could look like sit- down farm to table dining concepts or a trampoline park. “We will always have to go buy goods and services from somewhere.”
Trustee Greg O’Neil said in the last nine months of the contract agreement with Buxton, himself and other trustees have not been updated on the status of incoming commercial development.
“In this whole process we have been doing this, nine months, unless I missed something — I’ve never been updated that these guys have done anything for us. Up until now, you don’t even exist to us,” O’Neil said.
Mayor Jim Vernier said attracting retailers right now in the current climate “is very difficult.” He said he understands if retailers aren’t responding to Buxton, but the Village needs more transparency on what is being done in the process to attract businesses.
“$50,000 a year is a lot of money,” Vernier said.
Maher expressed to the board of trustees that increased correspondence will take place and that analytics and informational reports will be shared on the process of attracting commercial developments.
With the incoming informational report from Buxton, trustees will continue discussion of the partnership at the next meeting board meeting on April 1. The board will take action on the Buxton Company contract renewal at the May 6 board meeting.
Vernier then discussed with the board the status of 3429 Langford Drive home in the Ashford Farms subdivision.
The home, visible from Green Mount Road, caught fire and burned in May of 2018, according to Vernier.
Vernier said a fire investigation is currently in federal court and the owner of the house is also seeking approval to have it fixed or demolished.
“Neighbors have been looking at it for a year,” Vernier said. “I don’t like driving by it and looking at it on Green Mount Road. Those people all have very beautiful homes and they pay a lot of taxes for them. They shouldn’t have to look at it.”
“I understand it is in court and the homeowner is trying to do what he can. That doesn’t do the neighbors any justice,” he said. “This could be in court for years.”
Vernier said the Village of Shiloh has condemnation rights — he then asked the board to authorize the Village attorney, Terry Bruckert, to authorize the condemnation of the property.
“I think we pursue it and seek recovery of costs from either the owner or bank that financed it,” he said. “We are showing the neighbors that we are concerned about it.”
“Once we serve the copy of the condemnation, he has 30 days to respond.” The motion passed with trustees authorizing Bruckert to pursue condemnation of 3429 Langford Drive.
Trustees then authorized the Village to enter into a partnership with Scott Air Force Base to work together to develop the Lower Silver Creek Watershed Plan.
The plan is not mandatory, but to encourage voluntary improvements to improve water quality, implement stormwater management practices and work collectively to achieve the goals of the plan. It’s overall goal is commitment to promote a healthy environment within the community.
“Just to be good neighbors is a reason for us to approve of it,” Vernier said. The motion passed.