Sibley Mill is a former textile mill listed in the National Register of Historic Places and owned by the Augusta Canal Authority (ACA). Prior to the Mill’s construction, the Confederate States of America manufactured gunpowder on the site during the Civil War.
Contamination issues consistent with textile manufacturing and with a powder works facility required sufficient grant funding to be secured from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remediate this Brownfields site sufficiently for safe development.
ACA received the first clean-up grant in October 2013, and the second in October 2014. Each grant was valued at $200,000 with another $40,000 per grant of matching funds received from the ACA. This took the total remediation budget to $480,000.
Cardno developed a multi-year, phased clean-up strategy to manage this project. While the first phase was a standard excavation, the second phase required a vastly different approach to planning and executing the excavation. This was due to one parcel of land containing substantial subsurface utilities.
To comply with Augusta’s historic preservation protocols, ACA had a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey performed to identify any anomalies that would require monitoring during the excavation. A plan was prepared and submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) that required Cardno’s archaeologists to be onsite during excavation in the areas of the anomalies – areas that could possibly indicate the presence of artifacts and structures.
During this process, a Confederate cannon ball was discovered and now sits on display at the ACA Discovery Center. In line with the SHPO-approved plan, interpretative signage will also be installed around the facility’s chimney, marking it as the historic site of the Confederate Power Works.
In May 2016, the ACA announced that it had signed a 75-year lease agreement with Cape Augusta to be the site’s master developer of The Augusta Cyber Works – a state-of-the-art cyber campus. The facility will be anchored by a 10-megawatt Tier 3 Data Center and complemented by a campus that supports cyber-related companies and educational facilities.