Share this article

print logo

Restoring old mill could cost $640,000

Historically preserving the Village of Williamsville's old red mill could cost as much as $640,000, an independent survey of the property has found.

But Mayor Mary Lowther said the cost may be much lower and that, in any case, village taxes will not be increased to pay any of the bill.

"We'll be looking for as many grants as we can," she said, and will only take on renovations as money is found to pay for them.

Overall, the mill -- on Spring Street just off Main Street -- is in surprisingly good shape, the report by Bero Architects found. Structurally, it is still sound, although the report did identify about $18,000 in repairs that need to be done as soon as possible.

That work has already started, Lowther said.

In all, the report was good news for Lowther and the village trustees, who were harshly criticized in 2005 when they bought the mill out of foreclosure rather than take the chance of seeing it demolished by developers.

The mill, built in 1811, is the oldest continuously operating mill in Western New York. It is a local landmark and considered an integral part of the old-fashioned charm the village is trying to reclaim.

How faithfully the mill is preserved will depend on how much money the village can find to do it. For instance, the total price tag in the Bero report includes replacing the roof with a historic roof, a costly proposition.

So far, the village has managed to secure about $250,000 in grants. Of those, the largest is $150,000 from the state that will be used this year to start paying off the $500,000, 10-year bond used to purchase the mill.

State Sen. Mary Lou Rath, R-Williamsville, and Assemblyman James Hayes, R-Amherst, each secured $50,000 in state money for the project. Lowther said she is optimistic that more grants or independent funding can be found to pay for the mill's revitalization.

She said a weekly farmers' market, slated to run from June through October, should be "a wonderful showcase" for the mill and a way to raise awareness of the site.

"It will keep the focus on the mill, and that is what we want," she said.

e-mail: ncervantes@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment