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Crews start moving Ozark Mill to new foundation

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Construction crews yesterday started moving the historic Ozark Mill to a newly constructed foundation as part of the 32-acre Finley Farms development that’s underway.

Plans to temporarily relocate the mill and rebuild the foundation were announced in January 2018, when Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris signaled development plans after years of staying quiet about the acreage he owns in Ozark.

Bass Pro Shops spokeswoman Katie Mitchell said the move to the mill’s new foundation would take about three weeks.

The move started in March 2018, and since then, crews have built a new foundation that’s three feet higher than the original to protect the structure against flood damage. St. Louis-based Expert House Movers relocated the mill last year and again started moving work Wednesday. The restoration included the use of 1,250 yards of concrete and some 1,600 labor hours, according to a news release.

“Experience is paramount when it comes to moving buildings,” said EHM representative Gabe Matyiko, in the release. “I worked for my father growing up, and he worked for his father. Over multiple generations, there were a lot of lessons learned, and what that results in is a better end product and a better job.”

After the mill is relocated to its new foundation, exterior and interior renovations are scheduled to take place.

The Ozark Mill is located on the Finley River and serves as the focal point for the larger Finley Farms surrounding it.

The mill is slated to be restored into a functioning facility for tours. Inside the mill, plans call for a restaurant called Riverside Grill and a basement restaurant and speakeasy dubbed The Garrison, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Finley Farm’s first components are slated to open later this year, and officials plan to announce additional details in the coming weeks, according to the release.

Other Finley Farm features include:
• The Farm, an urban farm that will grow produce to be used by Riverside Grill chefs;
• The Chapel, an open-air venue overlooking Finley River meant for ceremonies and as a trail site stop;
• The Workshop, an interactive makerspace, where guests can take courses in seed starting, beekeeping and weaving inside a renovated 1930s-era industrial garage; and
• Riverside Bridge, which will be open to the public when not being used for private events.

The project’s Phase I, which includes the opening of The Post, a 1,300-square-foot ice cream and coffee shop, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

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