Plans to save grist mill revealed
by Mark Ledbetter
CHILDERSBURG — Addressing the City Council Tuesday, Kymulga Grist Mill project manager Michael Maxwell said he had good news to report.

“As you may know, we received the grist mill some two years ago and it had foundation problems, and we have had many meetings,” Maxwell said. “I am proud to announce we have a basic solution to the problem.”

Kymulga Grist Mill is the oldest working grist mill in the United States, but foundation problems led to its closing Sept. 10. The Childersburg Historic Preservation Commission formed a task force to address the foundation issues. Engineers examining the foundation issues agreed foundation repairs would be expensive, and with limited resources the task force determined their recommendations cost prohibitive.

Maxwell said an alternate plan to stabilize the mill was developed by Tony Watson of Reeson Welding and Maintenance in Childersburg.

“Multiple business leaders have stepped up for free,” Maxwell said. “Ray Reeves, Jr., Todd Watson and Tony Watson of Reeson have volunteered their time and equipment. Sandy Peoples, Peoples Sanitation, will help divert the creek and then build the road into the creek bed. Frank Conn, Richard Conn and Allen Conn, of Conn Ready Mix Concrete and Equipment, have volunteered cranes to move the I-beams and concrete for the footers.”

Maxwell said the I-beams needed to form the platform have been purchased and work should begin in January.

Maxwell also said he was proud to announce the expenses for the project have come from Talladega County Commission funds, business donations and private donations.

“None is coming out of city coffers and we can be proud of that,” Maxwell said.

In a related measure, the council approved a liability release for grist mill contractors performing free work at the mill. Contractors were concerned that there is no replacement value assessed to the mill and in the event something should happen the contractors will not be liable.

After the meeting, Maxwell encouraged people to volunteer their time helping with the project and if not at the mill, then volunteer for other things in the community.

The council also awarded a contract to Allcomm for $14,999 to change existing radios for street and sanitation, nutrition and transportation, and parks and recreation vehicles. All radios need to be recalibrated to narrow band in order to meet new requirements effective January 2013.

Twelve radios will be installed in city trucks and vans and 9-10 handheld radios are included in the upgrade.

City Clerk Sandra Donahoo said most of the existing radios do not operate and haven’t received an upgrade in 15 years.

“You don’t have to worry about the police and fire departments, or emergency radios,” Donahoo said. “They are on a different system and we pay a certain amount. They have already conformed.”

In other business before the council:

• Mayor B.J. Meeks announced City Hall would be closed Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1.

• Meeks also announced garbage will not be picked up on the days City Hall is closed for the holidays.

• Approved turning a street light away from the residence at 1631 16th Avenue, N.W. and towards the street. The city will pay the bill at an estimated $85 per year and Alabama Power will not charge to turn the light. The Tyler Circle request was tabled until further information could be received.

• Awarded Allen Oil Company the bid to provide the city gasoline and diesel.

• Approved travel expenses for one person to attend the Alabama Parks and Recreation Conference in Mobile Jan. 12-16.

• Approved the transfer of retail beer and table wine permits from Easy Stop to EZ Express, located at 35670 U.S. Highway 280.

• Approved rescheduling council meetings in January to Jan. 8 and 22 at 6 p.m.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at

© 2012