City wins grant to preserve tunnels under A Mill

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October 1, 2012 by Sarah M

//By Jeremy Zoss//

The City of Minneapolis has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to study the preservation of the tunnel system under the Pillsbury A Mill site. Developer Dominium plans to develop part of the complex into affordable housing. The grant could ultimately result in the tunnel system underneath the complex being opened to the public to explore part of the city’s milling history.

It will be some time before the tunnels could initially open to the public. The initial grant will pay for a study of the tunnels and prep work for that study.

“There’s two big pieces to it,” said CPED project coordinator Ann Calvert. “The main thing we want to do is called a historic and structural conditions study. That will help us identify how much work will be needed to preserve it historically.”

But first, preparations must be made to ensure the safety of those conducting the study, such as blocking water flow into the tunnels and removing sediments. Calvert said she expects the preparation and study to last roughly one year, after which the City may partner with Dominium to continue preservation of the tunnel system.

“It’s a first step,” said Calvert.

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