What’s the Future for the Old Lanett Mill?
It was one of the major employers in Chambers County. One side of the 27 acre property was a mill producing textiles and fabrics. On the other side was a bleachery.
“It was a fairly big operation. It had 3500 employees on three different shifts running 7 days a week so it was a major employer in this area,” said City of Lanett Mayor Kyle McCoy.
The mill closed in 2006 and Roy Granger, owner of Regeneration, LLC out of Alexander City bought it in 2006. Selling some of the wood to Oregon and the bricks to golf courses and walking trials around Alabama.
But, when the recession hit, everything stood still including the demolition of the old mill.
“A lot of value that was in these buildings like wood, brick, metal and other materials the market went away from there. These property owners bought these sights in attention to making money then it slowed down,”said Chris Busby, Community Developer for the Chambers County Development Authority.
So, the mill stood vacant for years before the city of Lanett and the county came together in 2016 to speed up the clean up process.
“It’s a very hot target site that we can get cleaned up and because of its proximity across state line and it being on a major travel corridor we believe once it’s cleared out, it will be a huge asset that we can market for Lanett and the county,” said Busby.
But, for residents like Jack May, he said they aren’t cleaning it up fast enough.
“They want to take something that’s part of history and what they also don’t realize is as they are tearing all this down all the debris and the dust is affecting us across the street,” said May.
May also said it’s sad they are demolishing a place that’s been a staple and very much a part of families born and raised in Chambers County.
“It’s a crying shame that my family helped build these mills and helped work these mills. They busted their backs and made a true American dollar and now look at it. It’s sad to see this happening,” said May.
Sadly on Tuesday, tragedy struck when a man working on the fourth floor of the old mill fell to his death when the flooring gave out.
“He was an excellent worker and person and it’s just a very sad, sad situation and accident,” said owner of Regeneration, LLC Roy Granger.
Mayor McCoy also released a statement saying…”he’s deeply saddened by the accident and extends his deepest condolences to the man’s family and friends.”
The future of the land is still unknown. But, they said it will take about 4 to 6 months to clean it up and then it will be put on the market.