BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS10) – A group in Bedford County is trying to preserve what some call a historic staple.
“There’s no turning back,” said Big Otter Mill’s Board President Kristy Milton.
Holding back tears, Milton said she made a promise to restore the old mill that dates back to the 1780s and she’s not about to break her word.
“When we lost our board president in March of this year, a three-time cancer survivor, our board made a commitment to finish this project and we’re going to,” said Milton.
The end goal is to fully restore the mill by 2017; however, that may cost $400,000.
Area leaders said it’s important to preserve the county’s heritage.
“It will give children a way to go back, to look and see what people did in the old days and how people used to get flour,” commented the county’s Public Works Director Shelton Cash.
Milton explained the mill’s board, Friends of Big Otter Mill, have already spent $150,000 on repairs like repainting the exterior and hooking up to electricity to get the water wheel moving.
But, the work is nowhere near complete in order for the mill to be safe to the public.
“We’ve got water that’s pushing into the south side of the foundation and we need to work on that,” added Milton.
Lighting, new machinery parts and window repairs are still needed in order to preserve the historic mill.
Milton hopes the community will rally behind this restoration.
If you would like to help, the Big Otter Mill’s fall festival will kick off this Saturday at 10 a.m. and the fun will run until 4 p.m. Money raise from this event will go towards mill renovations.