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Stabilized grist mill survives first major test

Despite water flowing right along its new lower level walls, Leard's Grist Mill in Coleman was standing tall Saturday on its new concrete footings, installed just last fall.
Despite water flowing right along its new lower level walls, Leard's Grist Mill in Coleman was standing tall Saturday on its new concrete footings, installed just last fall. - Eric McCarthy

Floodwaters surrounded building on Saturday

COLEMAN

As he surveyed the scene around Leard’s Mill on Saturday, Justin Rogers remarked “I think it would’ve been gone.”

He was referring to what might have happened during Saturday's flood if major intervention hadn't been taken at the mill last fall.

Rogers was part of the steering committee that last year hired PD Construction to raise and stabilize the century-old grist mill in Coleman. There had been widespread fears that the mill, teetering on kicked-out footings wouldn’t last the next big weather event.

That big weather event came on the weekend when a rapid snowmelt on Friday combined with heavy rain on Saturday to produce flood situations throughout West Prince.

When Rogers arrived at the mill to check out for himself what he heard from another committee member, he found the mill completely surrounded by water but standing firm. Besides stabilizing the mill the company raised it eight inches higher. Descending the bank along the side of the road, Rogers peered through the windows and said it did not look like the water level was up to the new floor. On the outside, though, it was running along the newly constructed wall.

The new footings were purposely designed to allow water in and to let it back out as the floodwaters recede.

Raging water was rushing over the Leard’s Pond dam across the road, then crossing under the road and through another opening beneath the Confederation Trail. The Mill is located in the opening between the road and the trail. Rogers noted the water swirling around the mill was fairly calm compared to the pressure over along the other bank approaching the bridge beneath the trail.

The grist mill was just one of many stops Saturday afternoon by curious residents who ventured out after the rain let up to see the impact of the flash flood.

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