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Pillsbury site awarded federal grant for cleanup effort

Mary Hansen

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $787,135 grant for Springfield’s Moving Pillsbury Forward.

The group purchased the 18-acre site, at 1525 E. Phillips St. on Springfield’s east side. There are 23 structures, including grain silos, which were part of a Pillsbury factory that milled grain and produced flour for decades. At one time, it was considered the largest flour mill in the country.

Cargill took over the plant in 1991 until it closed in 2001. The site, which has fallen into disrepair, is contaminated with heavy metals and other material.

Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (D-Springfield) announced the grant, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will go toward cleanup to help revitalize the property.

“The work being done to redevelop the old Pillsbury Mills site will be transformative for our community -- particularly for families on the east side of Springfield,” said Budzinski. “I look forward to being a strong partner to the folks at Moving Pillsbury Forward, including pushing to secure federal community project funding as we work to revitalize this dangerous site into an economic engine for our community.”

Demolition and cleanup estimates have been between $10-$12 million. It was previously announced the site will get $2 million from the federal government this year. The City of Springfield also earmarked money toward the work. Demolition on two warehouses started over the winter.

There has been discussion on the future of the site, which could include new industry once cleanup is complete.

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