These days you hear of people going to sites like gofundme.com or kickstarter.com when they are looking to raise start up money. Saenger had started working at the Mill six months before I did and one of the first things he did was to go talk with the Buda Economic Development Corporation. When we started looking at renovating the Mill, we'd intended to start small. Saenger had started talking with Warren Ketteman with the Buda EDC right from the beginning and received a $5,000 EDC grant for exterior improvements to 302 S. Main Street. The grant money was used towards a new tin roof in an effort to repair the old one that had been leaking for years.
Still in need of funding, we began to search for alternative methods in order keep moving forward. At this point, we turned our attention to the Dahlstrom Ranch and to what my mother referred to as "Jack's jewels." These "jewels" turned out to be a graveyard of old construction equipment. In the late 1980s, my father's construction company, Dahlstrom Corporation, began to experience financial difficulties. Ultimately, by the mid-1990's, my parents were shutting down construction jobs and closing the business. However, my father, Jack Dahlstrom, refused to let go of some of the equipment that he had amassed over the years. Instead he brought it out to the ranch where for the next 20 years it proceeded to rust and fall apart.
Fortunately, steel prices were high in 2012. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months as we met different crews out at the ranch as they torched and cut up the old equipment or tried to dig out the old the trailers or trucks to repair. Some locals purchased some of the more functional pieces such as the old bridge forms. It was a win win situation for us. Ultimately, Saenger sold all the equipment that Dad had left on the ranch so we could keep moving along with the renovations and my mom was thrilled to have the pastures cleaned up after such a long time.
In 2013, we were looking for assistance again. Conversations with the Ann Miller, the new Executive Director of the Buda EDC, were initiated about economic development incentives for the Mill. The City of Buda and the Buda Economic Development Corporation had been working together and on July 1, 2014, unanimously approved Buda Mill & Grain to receive sales and property tax rebates over a ten-year period. The Mill is required to maintain ten full-time positions, as well as generate sales tax revenue. (Press Release: buda approves economic development incentives for three projects, http://budaedc.com/news/press-release-buda-approves-economic-development-incentives-three-projects.) We are so appreciative not only for the City of Buda's and the EDC's support but also their belief in the renovation of the Mill as much as we do! Now with funding and support from Business Bank of Texas, we are on our way!