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Contact: Faye Walmsley, 573-323-4844
Eminence MO:Ozark National Scenic Riverways received a preliminary report from the architects, historians, and engineers who conducted a thorough and expert inspection of Alley Mill in January. Numerous restoration needs were indicated in the report. "Preservation of the iconic Alley Mill is the park's top priority for project work this year and several of the most important repairs are planned for the next several months," said Rusty Rawson, the park's Chief of Facility Management.
A new telephone line will be installed to serve the mill's current fire suppression system. The system is designed to automatically notify emergency officials when smoke and heat are sensed. The aging wood shingle roof will be removed and replaced. Deteriorated and rotted structural members will be rehabilitated. Non-historic elements on the outside of the building such as alarm bells and piping will be removed and relocated.The mill's exterior will be prepared and repaired prior to receiving a fresh coat of red paint. The approach and entry into Alley Mill will be improved for easier accessibility.
The preservation experts specifically stressed the need for immediate action addressing water and tree root infiltration into the mill's foundation. Sub-surface drainage trenched adjacent to the mill will draw water away from the foundation. Water will be diverted from the turbine pit and foundation by strategically placing sheet steel. The steel plate will allow the park employees to safely assess the failing Alley Spring impoundment, turbine pit, and raceway for exploring long-term solutions for stabilization.The root system from a large sycamore next to the Mill has compromised the foundation requiring the tree's removal. "Many park visitors have taken photographs of the mill and the sycamore tree next to it," said Superintendent Bill Black. "It is unfortunate the tree will have to be cut down, but it is our responsibility to preserve this cultural resource for future generations." stated Black.
Work on the preservation of the Alley Mill will begin around mid-April and could last through August. "To ensure visitor and worker safety during the restoration, access to Alley Mill will unfortunately be obstructed for the duration of the project," said Rawson. "The grounds surrounding the mill and the east access to the Alley Spring Loop Trail will be open unless heavy equipment is moving in the area," Rawson stated. "Park Rangers will be stationed on the grounds near the mill to provide historical information about the structure, how it worked, why was it built, and the on-going preservation work going on," said District Interpreter Jamie Cleaver ."The public can walk round most of Alley Spring, enjoy the crystal clear water, and witness preservation in progress that happens perhaps every 20 years to Alley Mill. We ask visitors to obey closure signs and pardon our dust as we make Alley Mill better than it was and available for the enjoyment of future generations," stated Cleaver.Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.