November 20, 2003



Another chance for Grinnell Mill?

Antioch and Glen Helen are apparently making a last attempt to save the Grinnell Mill, the historic fire hazard in the South Glen. In two related efforts, the institutions responsible for the mill are now trying to drum up community support to preserve the structure. This news must make many wonder, what took them so long?

Since June, when Miami Township Fire-Rescue declared the mill a hazard and ordered Antioch to find a way to rehab it, Antioch and the Glen have not been able to inspire the kind of community support that has succeeded in the past, such as the building of Friends Care Community and the effort to purchase Whitehall Farm at auction.

Part of the Glen’s new effort involves an historic preservation group, the Timber Framers Guild, through which the Glen Helen Ecology Institute hopes to develop a plan to restore Grinnell Mill. The Ecology Institute has organized a meeting on the mill for tonight (Thursday), 7 p.m., in the Glen Helen Building. Those who hope that the mill can be saved should attend the meeting and help organize a restoration project with the Timber Framers Guild and others. Though the forum is a good idea, it’s startling to think that it took six months to organize a meeting about the mill. After all, this town seems to love meetings, which offer the community excellent opportunities to understand and do something about an issue. The Glen should not miss this opportunity to rally community support at this time.

The other half of this latest effort to save the mill rests with John Feinberg, president of the Antioch Alumni Association and a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Feinberg, an historic preservation architect, wants to study the mill and collaborate with others on potential uses for it.

Together, these new ideas represent Antioch’s best shot at renovating the mill since the failed talks with local resident Jim Hammond, who was trying to negotiate a deal with Antioch to lease or purchase the mill. It remains unclear exactly why those talks fell through.

If Antioch and Glen Helen are serious about preserving the mill, they need to make sure these new efforts do not fail, and instead, must convince more people of the importance of their efforts.

— Robert Mihalek