Big repair means small delay in spring tours

Yates Mill wheel and forebay

Just a leeeetle bit leaky – the forebay last July. Photo courtesy Historic Yates Mill County Park.

We’ve got a big repair job this winter at Yates Mill, so it’s a disappointment but not too much of a surprise that we’ll have a small delay in the start of our 2014 tour season.

Our miller, William Robbins, will be replacing the entire forebay – the “box” that carries water from the pond over the waterwheel – while the mill is closed to tours this winter. Unfortunately, the project got off to a later start than we hoped.

The specialized lumber for the project is at last in hand and is being prepared for fabrication. But in addition to building the new forebay, William must carefully deconstruct the existing equipment without harming the mill structure. Because the forebay sits lower than the top of the dam, the water level in Yates Mill Pond will also have to be lowered, a project that requires coordination with county engineers.

Everyone involved will do their best to make up for lost time but it’s likely the project won’t be finished until the first half of March at the earliest — and that’s with no delays due to weather.

Since we want to make sure the job’s done carefully and correctly, Yates Mill Associates decided we’ll cancel public tours in March. We hate to do it, but we don’t want to put any pressure on our crews that might lead to mistakes or accidents.

The park is of course still open and will remain so during the project, though the mill yard will be fenced off during the biggest part of construction. You should be able to see the work in progress from observation decks at the park center and along the pond trail, so do come out to watch from a safe distance. We’ll also post updates on our news blog about the work in progress.

Look for announcements here and on the park’s website for news of our first tours in April. We’re also planning many more fun events to mark Yates Mill Associates’ 25th anniversary year, including our springtime Chickin Pickin’, our annual members’ meeting and more. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for updates on all YMA news and events.

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