Army Corp Permit Approved For Reservoir Mill

Managing Editor

The city of St. Marys checked off another chore on its list as it gets closer to beginning work on a blighted eyesore.

The Army Corp of Engineers permit was received and approved for work to be performed in the canal for the reservoir mill on High Street. Discussion on the permit approval was brought up during Monday’s St. Marys City Council meeting.

Manager of Industrial and Community Development Mike Burkholder said during the meeting that there is still small paperwork that has to still be completed with Poggemeyer Design Group but he thought that within 30 to 60 days, the city should be done with the necessary paperwork to progress to the next phase. St. Marys Mayor Pat McGowan had said in the past that he had hoped to begin deconstruction and reconstruction efforts on the mill as early as July or August — contingent on the time several studies and paperwork takes.

The city has endured a laundry list of steps it has had to take over the years just to get to this point.

In a city council meeting on Aug. 8, 2016, councilors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the renovation and restoration of the exterior of the reservoir mill at a cost not to exceed $650,000. The project will strip the existing building back to its original footprint and preserve it for future development. Any interior upgrades would be done via grants or private donations and would be done at the city’s leisure.

Funding for the project would come from the city’s revolving loan fund and not local income tax money. The state, which administers the program for the federal government, gave the city money to establish the revolving loan fund, which is loaned out to businesses for various projects. The city can use that money, without having to pay it back, because of a slum and blight provision included in the agreement with the state. 

In July, the Ohio Historical Society was working with the city engineer in terms of how plans would go to renovate the mill and those plans were submitted to the society in August. The issue was the west shed portion of the mill — which was built in 1847 and marked a significant period in the city’s history. The city was getting estimates on what it would cost to keep the original footprint opposed to renovating with the west shed attached.

In September, council unanimously approved an emergency resolution authorizing the submittal of a waiver request to the Ohio Developmental Services Agency’s Office of Community Development to use funds from the City of St. Marys Community Development Block Grant from the Economic Development Revolving Loan account to renovate the mill.

In January, the city was transferred canal lands from the state of Ohio located under and around the mill and the city purchased the mill itself earlier this year.