Flywheel to take up residency in downtown park


It won’t be long before a big piece of Seymour’s history is returned to the city.

Plans have been made to move the historic Blish Mill flywheel from Reddington to Crosssroads Community Park in downtown Seymour.

The location is significant because the park is across from the silos where the flywheel once generated electricity to power the former Blish Milling Co.

Weighing more than 16 tons, the wheel is 12 feet in diameter and should be in place at the park this spring.

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Initial estimates put the cost of moving and securing the wheel between $8,000 and $10,000. But with donations from local businesses, including Kleber Concrete, Hercamp Crane, Lawyer Excavation, King’s Trucking and Excavation and Shelby Materials, the final cost to the city will be $2,500 to $3,000.

New Mayor Matt Nicholson will lead a groundbreaking ceremony at the park at 2 p.m. Friday in preparation for the wheel’s return. Both former and current city officials and the public are invited to attend.

The wheel will sit on a concrete base, and a plaque or some kind of display will be included to share the wheel’s history with the public.

Nicholson said the flywheel is another way to attract people to downtown Seymour.

"This project brings our history back to Seymour," he said. "It also adds to the list of things to see in the downtown area. As that list grows, we have more reason for visitors to stop and stay longer, check out the wheel, walk to a mural or two and finish up with lunch at one of our area restaurants."

Nicholson said the base for the wheel is being designed to prevent it from moving, but vandalism is still a concern.

"That’s a risk with any project," he said.

The large iron flywheel had been on loan from the city to the Reddington Rear Wheelers, an antique tractor club, since July 2009.

At that time, the club raised enough money to move the wheel from Freeman Municipal Airport, where it had been discarded, to club member Hubert Hazard’s property at 1100 N. U.S. 31 in Reddington. It stood there for the past decade.

They created a public display at the site where people could stop to learn about the flywheel and have their picture taken with it.

Hazard died in 2012, and his daughter, Pam Obermeyer, who inherited the property, requested the city move the wheel in 2018 because of liability concerns.

The Rear Wheelers relinquished its interest in the flywheel back to the city in September, saying it didn’t have the money or a place to move the wheel.

Former mayor Craig Luedeman said the club did a really good job of cleaning up the wheel and taking care of it. He along with former councilmen John Reinhart and Jim Rebber and former parks director Bob Tabeling voiced their support for keeping the flywheel in Seymour.

The Seymour Parks and Recreation Board approved moving the wheel to the park in October 2019. Parks employee Chad Keithley is doing the necessary legwork to make the project come together, Nicholson said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Groundbreaking for the return of the Blish Milling Co. flywheel to Seymour

When: 2 p.m. Friday

Where: Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour

Who: Mayor Matt Nicholson will lead the ceremony. All past and present city officials and the public are invited to attend.


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