Breathing New Life into the Historic 600,000 square-foot Mill in Cooleemee


Hard work, big dreams and innovative thinking have begun to breathe new life into the 600,000 square-foot cotton mill which has been standing idle in Cooleemee since 1969.  The Cooleemee mill was once the most powerful economic engine in Davie County, North Carolina.  After opening in 1901, the mill employed almost 2,000 people at its peak until it was closed in 1969.

New Life for Cooleemee Mill!
On Friday, June 6th, 2012 the town announced grants totaling $270,000 which will be used as seed money for the restoration and redevelopment of the historic mill into a mixed-use facility with shops, restaurants, light industry and living space.

In the four decades since the mill was closed, the little town of Cooleemee has been hard at work to keep the little town alive.  Instead of complaining about the fate of the mill, people in Cooleemee set out to identify community assets and leveraging the strengths of their historic town.  The hard work has resulted in the opening of heritage museums, educational programs at the local schools, historic mill house tours and more.

 

RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls ~ The Bullhole
Perhaps the most important accomplishment was the establishment and development of an 80 acre nature park which surrounds the mill along the South Yadkin River.  Riverpark at Cooleemee Falls, known locally as the Bullhole ever since an ox being used to haul building material to the mill fell into the water in the late 1800’s, will act as a buffer for the mill ensuring  unobstructed views of the river and surrounding areas.  RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls has been featured in Our State magazine as a must-visit destination in North Carolina.

During the announcement on the mill project, North Carolina State Senator Julia Howard told the gathered crowd that she was reserving the first riverfront view condominium built at the mill. While the seed money to establish the project comes from federal, state and local grants, the actual development will be done with 100% private investor funds.

The redevelopment of the historic mill in Cooleemee in many ways mirrors the development of WinMock Barn as a world class event center in Bermuda Run.  After decades of disuse, the historic barn, located in the Davie County town of Bermuda Run, is now one of the most popular venues in the southeast for weddings, community and corporate events.

Economic Development is a Team Sport
As Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission said during the announcement on Friday, “Economic Development is not one person’s job, it is a team sport, requiring the hard work and commitment of everyone in the community.”

Please join us in thanking all those involved for their hard work and dedication to community life in Cooleemee.  We look forward to the day when the historic mill in Cooleemee reasserts itself as a vital economic engine in Davie County, North Carolina.

Additional Resources:
Cooleemee North Carolina
Davie County Economic Development Commission
Davie County Chamber of Commerce
Fox8News – report on Cooleemee mill announcement
Salisbury Post – report on Cooleemee mill announcement
News14 Carolina – report on mill announcement

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