SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Mark McDonald and Randy Phillips take you inside the Pillsbury Mills plant, where a group looks to bring new life to a long-abandoned structure in the heart of the state capital.
In 2019, a community working group started meeting to discuss the public safety and environmental issues posed by the site. They drafted a five-year plan and took it to the Springfield City Council, and Moving Pillsbury Forward formed as a 501c3 in fall 2020. Seed money from the Community Foundation of Springfield helped with legal expenses associated with environmental studies, clean-up, and transferring ownership; MPF finally took possession in March 2022.
The entire project is expected to cost between $10 and $12 million, and MPF is actively fundraising to cover those costs. The group received some funding from the City of Springfield and Springfield-Sangamon Growth Alliance for the initial clean-up and has applied for a USEPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant to help with next phases of demolition.
MPF hopes to eventually redevelop the site for light manufacturing, potentially incorporating solar on part of the 18-acre site to offset energy needs and utilizing the existing rail spur access, to create new jobs in the community.
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