“The gristmill is a part of Childersburg’s history, and we’re going to lose that part of our history if we’re not able to repair the foundation,” said Councilwoman Michele Mizzell, founder and coordinator of the Race to Save the Gristmill.
The run will be Oct. 12 at 7:30 a.m., rain or shine, starting in downtown Childersburg on Sixth Avenue SW across from Kiwanis Park and winding around downtown Childersburg. Check-in will be from 6 to 7 a.m.
The gristmill was built in the 1860s, and is one of few left standing from that period. Even rarer is such a mill with a covered bridge on site. Walking trails meander through the serene wooded site.
“It’s absolutely such a gorgeous place,” Mizzell said.
Through the years, Talladega Creek has eroded the foundation beneath the four-story mill building, rendering it unstable. “We’re working with engineers to fix that the most economical way we can,” Mizzell said. “We are working on projects now to reroute the water so we can get supports under there and at least get it stabilized for the time being.”
Mizzell explained, “I’ve kind of taken it on as a personal challenge for the past several years to raise money for the gristmill by coordinating the run. There are numerous other fundraisers. It’s a huge undertaking financially to be able to fix that foundation,” she said.
Each year, the Race to Save the Gristmill has raised between $2,000 and $4,000. Mizzell said she’s aiming to raise $2,500 to $3,000 with this year’s run.
The city of Childersburg obtained the property from Talladega County in June 2011, and supports the renovations through the Childersburg Historic Preservation Committee.
Mizzell said she likes to walk and run, and got the idea for the Race to Save the Gristmill when she participated in a 5K run for another cause. “We’ve had very good participation,” she said. “We’ve also had some very good response from a lot of our local businesses to help us with sponsorships. It’s always nice when you ask for support and people are so willing and ready to help. It speaks well of our community and also of the feeling people have about the gristmill.”
Registration for the run is $25, and forms are available at City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce. Registration can also be done online at kymulgagristmill.com.
Those who register in advance will receive a T-shirt, but shirts are not guaranteed to those who register on the day of the run.
Mizzell said strollers are welcome, but people with strollers and those who plan to walk rather than run are asked to start behind those who plan to run.
Door prizes will be awarded, and there will be medals for male and female winners of various age groups plus the overall male and female winners.
There will be fruit, drinks and homemade cookies at the finish line.
“If you love the gristmill, then please come and participate. It doesn’t matter if it takes you 30 minutes or two hours to finish the race; we will cheer you on to the end. If you’re not an avid walker or runner and just want to participate, please come stand at the finish line and be a cheerleader. We accept all donations,” Mizzell said.