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Mayor "optimistic" about mill development

By Michael Butler

Over $1 million has already been invested in the Mt. Vernon Mills Transformation Project. And that's just with the cleanup.

"I am optimistic," said Tallassee mayor Sarah Hill. "We've seen a significant amount of investment already."

The city council approved the surplus of the property to continue to the progress.

"That's their property," Hill added. "I think it will be five to seven to ten years before you see anything really complete."

Hill said that Tallassee was on the radar for such a project based on some geographical advantages.

"They had been watching the city knowing it was a property they were interested in especially with its waterfront and proximity to Lake Martin, Auburn and Montgomery. I've always said Tallassee has so much potential by being centrally located."

The price tag for the investment to date is $1.6 million, Hill noted.

"That tells me that you're willing to work and move forward with the project. It's going to take time, money and investors. If I could've waved a magic wand, that would have been what I wished for."

In a Facebook post, a list of plans were highlighted:

• Riverview restaurant will have a gorgeous view of the dam and the river with seating both indoors and outdoors

• 2 more restaurants will be in the higher area next to the "mill cabins" and the museum

• The Mill cabins will be short term rentals for vacationers and people to stay in when there are at local held conferences and large corporate gatherings, these will be modeled after the traditional mill houses around town so don’t be surprised if your house has a mini-me down in our area

• The garden area in the middle of the Mill cabins will still retain the original long foundation walls that the mill was built on and will also contain tables and picnic area

• Amphitheater will be available for outdoor concerts, weddings, plays, movie nights and other planned events

• The large retail / office space building will be used for both ground floor retail and upper floor offices with large spans of glass for a beautiful view of the river all 4 seasons

• The event building can be used for any corporate gatherings, weddings, proms and many more events all within the large space with glass walls on all 4 sides so that the view is never blocked in all directions. The glass will be 10 feet high on all side

• The recreational building will contain an 8 lane 25 yard competition pool with seating for 350 people to host local and regional swim meets. In addition we will have 6 indoor volleyball / pickle ball courts, 4 indoor 100 foot long pitching tunnels, several medical offices that will serve as a training location for water based physical therapy (hydrotherapy) and chiropractor sports training. Outside will be a full soccer field with multiple uses

• We are currently in discussions with several post-high school educational institutions both colleges and trade schools to use part of our space for remote satellite offices in order to give the residents of Tallassee an opportunity to further their education in multiple areas

• Plenty of parking everywhere scattered throughout the property

In all, there are 20 mill cabins proposed. Other ideas listed in the sketches but not detailed above include: a garden in the mill village, four conference rooms, a cycle track, entertainment zone and a coffee shop.