YORK -- In April, renovations to convert the Lockmore Mill on Hunter Street into senior apartments were stalled when a raging fire burned 25,000 square feet of the structure down to a pile of smoldering ash.
Now, thanks in part to grants and tax credits, the mill is under construction again, and the latest grant will help improve the nearby neighborhood.
The city of York recently received a $296,306 grant that will be used to upgrade the water lines and provide adequate pressure and fire protection for the Lockmore Mill, as well as residences on the surrounding streets.
The grant came from the Community Development Block Grant Program, an area improvement program available throughout the Catawba region, which includes York, Lancaster, Chester, Union and Cherokee counties, according to City Manager Charles Helms.
"The city is in charge of the project. We're in the engineering stages at this point," Helms said.
He said he expects construction on the water mains to begin by February or March.
"We're upgrading the water mains from six-inches to 12-inch mains on Hunter and Church streets. and tying them to Madison and Blackburn streets," Helms said.
The larger pipes will have the capacity to accommodate the Lockmore Mill apartments, which are still planned to become affordable housing for the elderly, as well as improving water pressure to all residences on Hunter, Church, Madison and Blackburn streets, according to Helms.
Landmark Group, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., is developing the Lockmore Mill site. It is the same company that was working on converting the mill before the fire.
Rehab Builders is handling the project, which includes $3.5 million of new construction, according to Mike Massoglia, a spokesman for Landmark.
"We are building on the footprint of the old 'L'- shaped building," Massoglia said. "The architect will tie in the new construction with the remaining section, to respect the character of the old mill."
The smaller section of the 'L' shape is the remaining part of the mill was saved from the fire.
The project will carry a total price tag of $5.5 million after clearing the land and preparing the site for the present construction, Massoglia said.
"We're expecting a completion date in late 2009," he said.
Massoglia said the need for affordable housing is still present in York.
The Lockmore Mill apartments will include 40 units.