St Vrain Mill Preservation Annual Report

The Saint Vrain Mill Preservation and Historical Foundation
PO Box 1282 • Mora, New Mexico 87732

Report to the Members—2023 Activity of The St Vrain Mill Preservation and Historical Foundation

Introduction:  This report to you, our members, provides an accounting of the Foundation’s activities in 2023, outlines our anticipated activities for 2024, and provides transparency regarding our financial status and prospects.

Activity in 2023:  
Events:  We did have several weekend “open house” events throughout the summer.  However, the big event was being included in the Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation (CCHP) Places of the Past Tour.  The CCHP is expanding its reach to Mora County and so last August we had a “Valley of the Mills” Tour with the La Cueva Mill, the St Vrain Mill and the Cleveland Roller Mill open for tour participants.  Good publicity, but only so-so for fundraising.  

Fundraising:  Our outreach to the Mora County Commission for inclusion in the County’s Capital Outlay funding came for naught.  Expressions of support in January last year were replaced by higher priorities dealing with wildfire and flood recovery. Most of our income was from recurring donations from our members. We received a $4,200 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to offset some of the cost of the structural engineering assessment.

Restoration:  Our most significant, and visible, restoration project was the removal of the paint and graffiti on the south and east walls. It was a low cost, high labor project.  The only cost was purchasing the paint stripper (approved by restoration specialists).  The labor was a significant number of person hours spent scrapping and power washing.  Fortunately, most of the labor was provided by New Mexico Highlands University student athletes as part of their community outreach.   Ten to twelve young people for two days made quick work of what we feared was going to be the month-long effort by us not so young people. See the photo attached for the Mill’s new look, actually, its old look.

We continued working with the structural engineer, first to provide a current assessment of the integrity of the north wall and second, to provide construction documents for the eventual wall repair bid process. Regarding the north wall, even though it is out of plumb by 12-13 inches, it is in no danger of collapse, barring a significant earthquake.  The creation of the construction documents is an iterative process.  They should be finalized in early 2024.

As part of the assessment, our consultants generated drone views of the Mill.  Check out this link:

Technically this didn’t happen in 2023, but close enough.  At their January 2024 Awards Ceremony, The Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation recognized us for our efforts in restoring the St Vrain Mill. LVCCHP has been around for over three decades and is the premier historic preservation organization in Northeast New Mexico, so an award from them is something we can be proud of.

Anticipated Activity in 2024: 

Events:  We plan on having the Mill open on weekends throughout the summer.  No other special events are currently planned.

Fundraising:  We will continue our “routine” fundraising efforts.  However, once we get a good idea on the actual costs of the wall repair, we will seek out organizations who support “bricks and mortar” work, and possibly have a “Stone by Stone Part II” effort.

Restoration:  Even though we anticipate the final construction drawings being available in March, it is unlikely we will be doing any physical restoration in 2024.   We have contacted an engineering consulting firm regarding them managing the bid solicitation process and possibly overseeing the contractor(s) activity once contracts are awarded.  Actual work will be dependent on the bids received and our funds on hand. We would like to have the work done in one phase, but it may be possible to break the work up into two or three separate phases depending on cost and funding.

Financial Overview:  The Foundation took in approximately $19,600 in 2023.  The sources were as follows: 

Members’ Dues and Contributions                    $4,044

“Stone by Stone”/ General Contributions          $11,358

National Trust Grant (Structural Assessment)  S4,200

Total expenses for 2023 were $26,807. Of that $14,931 went for engineering and masonry restoration consulting fees.  $2,118 were direct restoration expenses, specifically the cost of the paint stripper. Other expenses (utilities, insurance, etc.) for the year totaled $9,752. 

As of December 31, 2023, the Foundation had $54,794 in our savings account (construction reserve) and $9,070 in checking.

Certifications: The Foundation continues to meet all the requirements as a 501(c) (3) federal non-profit organization.  We also are current regarding documentation required of charitable organizations by the NM Department of State and the NM Attorney General’s Office.

                                                              St Vrain Mill Au Naturel

                                                                      LVCCHP Awards Event

Foundation Board Members:  Barbara Bradshaw, Betsy Bloch, Christine St Vrain-Fishachs, and Merl Witt

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