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Hammock giving a tour of the town

Hammock says be patient on mill cleanup

By Michael Butler

Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock was recently approached by Jose Rodriguez about giving a tour of the city for his video blog. Rodriguez has a YouTube channel called Southern Hood Vlogs.

"He's got about 15,000 subscribers to his channel," Hammock said. "I showed him a little bit of the town and talked about what we've got going on."

Among the immediate attractions or attention getters to outsiders is the ruins of what was Mount Vernon Mills. The site caught Rodriguez's attention in a previous unescorted ride on Tallassee's streets.

"The city owns the property," said Hammock. "We got it in January. We finished the Phase 1 assessment with Alabama Department of Envrionmental Management (ADEM). We're hoping to do a Phase 2 assessment starting in January. That's when they do a lot of soil samples.

The crumbling textile mill as it appears today

"Once you've got a Phase 1 and 2 and own the property, you're Brownfield Grant application gets a lot of points then. We've written two grants and been denied. It wasn't our property and we didn't have a Phase 1 and 2. Everything's in our favor now. I'm not saying we're going to get awarded, but I feel pretty good about it."

Hammock said the city could receive up to $4 million if the funds are awarded.

"I'm not a demoition expert. I'm not sure how much it will cost to clean it up. I can promise the citizens of Tallassee that I'm going to work everyday tirelessly until we get that place cleaned up. It means a lot to me. I'm tired of looking at it every time I come across the river. It's going to take years. A cleanup of that magnitude is going to take a long time."

Among the plans if the cleanup comes to fruition includes a new water filtration plant on the property. Hammock noted that project would require roughly five acres leaving 21 acres for future riverfront development.

"What would benefit Tallassee the best, I don't know," he said.

Mount Vernon Mills (After the Fire) Photos