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Johnny Morris plans to restore the historic Ozark Mill and open it to the public. Restoration work is slated to begin next month.
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Johnny Morris plans to restore the historic Ozark Mill and open it to the public. Restoration work is slated to begin next month.

Morris decides fate of Ozark Mill

Posted online

Last edited 10:52 a.m., Jan. 17, 2018

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris has plans in the works for the historic Ozark Mill he’s owned since 1993.

Morris plans to restore the mill on the Finley River, rehabilitate it and open it to the public. It also would serve as a venue, and Bass Pro spokesman Jack Wlezien said private functions could be a possibility in the space. The plans include lifting and temporarily moving the entire structure so crews can rebuild the property’s foundation.

“Our intention is to protect and restore the building to honor its remarkable heritage,” Morris said in the release. “We intend to eventually open this historic facility to the public and create a very special venue that celebrates our region’s unique history, ingenuity and culture.

“We are grateful to the city of Ozark, and particularly neighbors of the mill, for their support in this process while this important work takes place.”

Restoration efforts are expected to start next month, and officials will provide more details as they are finalized, according to the release.

The mill, which dates back to 1833, has been the subject of rumors as Morris has stayed silent on his plans for it.

Morris also owns more than 32 acres around the mill, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

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