What Will Become of the Bibb Mill?

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  It was the biggest fire in Columbus history. And now, Nearly 6 months after flames tore thru the Bibb City Mill, crews are still picking up the pieces.

"So far, we've been in the process of cleaning the debris up and trying to keep the site safe. We've removed a lot of the scrap metal and we're in the process of clearing and cleaning the bricks at this point. I think six or seven months we should be totally through," said Bill Reaves, President of Reaves Wrecking Company.

Columbus Fire officials still don't know who or what caused the fire but say the investigation is active and ongoing. They're working with the ATF to track down a homeless man they say is the person of interest in the case.

Just as uncertain is the mill's future. Will Barnes is the Columbus architect working on plans for the site. He says part of the area will be converted to green space for events at the adjoining Rivermill Event Center.

The rest is still in the works.

"The initial development will be supporting that. The next thing we'll do in the planning environment, is create a preservation master plan for the site and what that will take into account is what we're going to do with the 1920s facade you see from First Avenue. Beyond that, it's going to be a series of small or large projects," Barnes said.

No matter what the future holds, developing the 40 acre site is going to take time.

"It's going to continue to develop over many years. It's not going to happen all at once," added Barnes.

A Thursday night event at the Rivermill Event Center recognized those Columbus firefighters who battled flames the night the mill burned down.

They're credited with containing the massive fire.

Next week, wrecking crews are planning on tearing down the mill's bell tower and some of the remaining walls.