Mayor Checks in on Bemis Mill Construction Every Day

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SOUTH JACKSON, Tenn. — Some South Jackson residents are worried workers are taking the Bemis Mill apart with the city’s blessing. Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist said he is making sure the mill stays in tact. Robert Belch was raised in Bemis. He drives by the mill every day and sees the construction. “Just have to take it in stride and hope for the best,” Belch said. Mayor Gist said the rumors are not true. “Every day, we have one of our building inspectors go down and make sure nothing is being deconstructed on the building,” Gist said. Mayor Gist said they have removed asbestos from the building and are now pulling out old pipes. “They’re trying to get it in position to where they, if they were able to get a permit and all else falls through, that some time sooner or later if they end up with the building they can begin reconstruction,” Mayor Gist said. Mayor Gist said an application for a deconstruction permit has already been submitted to the city but it has been turned down for a couple technicalities, including the wrong address of the mill on the application. Belch said he has been around the mill his whole life and seeing it being torn apart, even just on the inside, makes him sad. “It’s depressing to see it like it is now, cause used to you’d hear it roaring and everything,” Belch said. He said he hopes the work on the mill will encourage investors to take another look at Bemis. “That would give them more reason because that way they won’t have to come in here and take it out themselves, so it will be a done job,” he said. Wednesday the Jackson City Council unanimously approved a 20-year plan to revitalize South Jackson. The plan states residents will have a say in the fate of historic buildings in Bemis, including the mill.

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