Nearly $3 million in federal funds are coming to clean up the Pillsbury Mills site

The Pillsbury Project has just taken a major step forward in the safe demolition of the Pillsbury Mills, with more than $2 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding to clean up the last environmental hazards and begin demolition in the autumn.

Through the EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant program, Moving Pillsbury Forward, a nonprofit grassroots group, applied and was awarded the full $2,652,300 grant request, the total amount the group still needed to address all hazards to the environment completely. place.

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“We feel this is a huge boost to the project,” said Chris Richmond, president of Moving Pillsbury Forward. “All the community support we’ve had really shines through here.”

Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski recently announced that Springfield and Decatur would receive a total of $6,652,300 in funding. Budzinksi was an enthusiastic voice in funding the Moving Pillsbury Forward project launched in 2019, securing $1 million in community project funding for the nonprofit earlier this year and $787,000 in EPA funding last year.

Combined with $2 million in federal funding from Senator Dick Durbin’s help last year, $1.3 million from the state of Illinois and $1.5 million from the city of Springfield, the project has collected about $9.2 million of the $10 to $12 million that the project needs in total. .

If all goes according to plan, Richmond says the funding will cover the safe removal of the last of the contaminants and the demolition of all structures except the grain building and “main house” silos over the next 12 months.

Pillsbury Mill

The former Pillsbury Mills factory on Springfield’s northeast side is an 40-acre property known to be contaminated with asbestos and lead paint; The old mill has been closed for more than 20 years after operating from 1929 to 2001 and changing hands from Pillsbury to Cargill before finally being sold for scrap.

At its peak, the Pillsbury Mill had 1,500 employees, but by the time the site closed under Cargill, only 45 employees remained at the plant.

The old mill was only recently acquired in its long history, in March 2022, from Moving Pillsbury Forward, which has taken steps to clear, clean and eventually demo the building. Fortunately, some areas have been cleaned up by the EPA, which spent $3.25 million in 2017 removing nearly 98% of the asbestos and contaminated debris, such as leftover antifreeze and lead.

The EPA’s latest funding will cover the safe removal of the last contaminants and demolition of all structures except the grain building and “main house” silos.

Mayor Misty Buscher said in a statement that the additional funding will play an important role in revitalizing the former Pillsbury factory, and that the 18-acre complex offers tremendous potential for the city.

Claire Grant writes about business, growth and development and other news topics for The State Journal-Register. She can be reached at [email protected]; and on X (formerly known as Twitter): @Claire_Granted

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