GAYS MILLS – This small village has literally risen, only not from the ashes, but from the Kickapoo River floodwaters of 2007 and ‘08.
The village is about to take a major step in its “uphill” relocation effort with completion of a Mercantile building and a Community Commerce building along Highway 131, north of the original downtown. The buildings are part of a voluntary relocation plan to move homes and buildings to higher ground after two consecutive years of flooding late last decade.
Both buildings are expected to be occupied by December and January. The 15,600 square-foot Mercantile building will use solar and other energy-efficient methods to help house at least 13 business tenants.
The Community Commerce building, about 1,000 square feel smaller than the Mercantile, will house the village hall, library, community meeting area and a community kitchen, which can be used by food processors, caterers and others as an incubator for food businesses.
Combined the buildings cost more than $4 million, but a unique combination of public and private funding is handling it. Plus, indications are that investors and business people in the area are interested in becoming part of the projects.