Funds OKd For Cooleemee Mill Project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 15, 2011

By Jackie Seabolt
Enterprise Record

COOLEEMEE – Plans to revitalize the mill are in progress after commissioners approved work to get the site placed on the national register of historic places and the hiring of a developer to do the job.
The Cooleemee Mill Project is an eight to 10 year endeavor that will cost an estimated $40 to $60 million.
First comes a two year design phase.
Mac Jordan of Sellers of Saxapahaw is responsible for the redevelopment of the old mill there. That project included conversion of the historic Saxapahaw Mill into apartments, a parking garage, fitness center, restaurants, and retail areas.
Step one in the Cooleemee project is to quality the mill and surrounding property as historical.
Commissioners agreed to hire Jordan to perform the nomination of the mill property and complete all historic and architectural documentation for each structure and pay him $12,000.
Jordan will begin the work on Sept. 1.
Mayor Lynn Rumley said that Jordan’s approach will be to draw the community in for ideas of what should go into the mill.
Once the mill is listed on the national register it will qualify for tax credits that will help pay for nearly half of the estimated millions in renovations.
The Davie County Economic Development Commission is partnering with Cooleemee and the Cooleemee Historical Association.
“My job is filling up vacant buildings for jobs so that people can work,” said Terry Bralley, economic development president.
Bralley told commissioners the Saxapahaw mill restoration was a great project and referred to the recent completion of the historic WinMock Barn in Bermuda Run.
“Without tax credits these projects would not have been possible,” Bralley said.
Bralley has said the DCEDC has no plans to buy the mill and the mill’s owners, Stokes County Yarn Co., has given their enthusiastic support of the project.
Rumley told commissioners the county had given a $6,000 matching grant to hire Jordan, but instead of taking matching funds from the town budget Rumley said that members of the CHA gave $6000 of their own money to meet the match.
Commissioner Chris Branham made a motion to approve the hiring contract with Jordan to apply for the national registry and thanked the DCEDC and members of the CHA who gave money.
The motion passed with no one opposed.
According to Rumley, an application for another matching grant of $50,000 has been made by the CHA for the project with the National Endowment of the Arts. “We won’t know until spring if CHA will get that grant.”
Another grant application will be submitted by the town this fall for $200,000.
The Cooleemee Mill employed nearly 1,800 workers in its hey day and was at one time the largest tax payer in Davie County. It closed in …