Town of Mayodan receives grant to help acquire Washington Mills Property
On January 26, 2017, the Town of Mayodan received a Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, RiverBank Fund grant of $25,000 to help acquire the Washington Mills property. The Fund was established in 2014 to gather donations throughout North Carolina and Virginia earmarked for the protection and revitalization of the Dan River. This second round of grants were awarded to nine organizations totaling $265,000. The grant will help the Town to acquire the 13-acre site of the now demolished former Washington Mills manufacturing plant.
Washington Mills has always been an important cornerstone and landmark for the Town of Mayodan since it was established in 1896 as a textile mill. The mill began to face difficulties and permanently closed in 1999 but its beautiful brick buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2007 a development group attempted to develop a mixed-use destination amenity that included a hotel, condos, and retail/entertainment space. The development proposal fell through during the “Great Recession” of 2008. The property was then purchased by a demolition and recycling company in 2012. The historic mill buildings were dismantled, with the exception of a small warehouse building.
Currently the property is mostly covered in rubble and building debris presenting a dreadful public eyesore right at the entry into historic downtown Mayodan. The perfect resolution is to make this space into a public park providing access to the river, scenic recreational space for residents and visitors and a landmark to its important past for the Mayodan community.
The Town of Mayodan has negotiated a contract to purchase the property from the current owner. With potential environmental issues identified in a Phase 1 assessment, plans are under development to complete a Phase 2 assessment to be followed by clean up and eventual development into a public recreational facility.
Mayodan’s strategic economic development plan calls for the community to develop a stronger regional tourism effort built on the beautiful natural and community resources of our downtown, State and local parks, and the Mayo River.
Eligible programs had to address at least one of the five focus areas:
1. Responsibly address water quality for regional residents and companies.
2. Encourage new development that ecologically features the River.
3. Improve the cleanliness of the River and the Basin and help protect it from environmental threats.
4. Increase access to the River for family-friendly sports, recreation and entertainment.
5. Effectively promote the River to build regional pride and encourage tourism.
A regional advisory committee helps guide the development of the fund and the strategic disbursement of grant funds.
Donations to the RiverBank Fund are still being sought from individuals, organizations and businesses that have interest in helping to improve the quality and caliber of life all along the Dan River. Duke Energy has been a major contributor to the fund, with a $250,000 donation in 2014 and in 2016. Donations may be made online at www.RiverBankFund.org.
The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region is a public charity established in September 1996 by a steering committee of civic leaders to improve and enrich area lives through the generosity of donors and has already returned more than $21 million in community grants and scholarships. The office can be reached at 541 Loyal Street, Danville, VA, 24541, (434) 793-0884 or at www.cfdrr.org or www.RiverBankFund.org.