VICKSBURG, Mich. (WOOD) — The yearslong project to restore and renovate the Mill at Vicksburg is starting a new phase, shifting focus to the grounds outside the historic building.

While some of the construction zone east of the building is dirt for now, about five acres will be transformed into a picturesque pasture.

With rehabilitation work on the building complete, crews are now focusing on a multi-year plan to establish a flower meadow network, which would feature walking trails for Mill guests.

Rebecca Luong, who directs the design work for the project, explained that the placement and use for the flowers pays homage to the Mill’s past in a more natural way.

“That was where trail lines historically brought materials in and out of the mill and then delivered the finished goods. So, you can imagine just the contaminant from the nature of the soil,” Luong said.

Following remediation work, the wildflowers will give visitors “the ability to take (them) to a healthy natural environment,” she added.

In 2018, Vicksburg High School and local partners helped plant buckwheat and sunflowers on the west side to attract bees for pollination. Luong said they’re looking to have them help this time around as well, as the seeds for these flowers will be planted within the next week.

“We’re catching them at the end of the school year, so we’re looking at how to build it into all of next year’s curriculum,” she said. “With that opportunity, it just has them much greater ownership in a longer play.”

According to Luong, the public will not be able to enjoy the flowers once they’re in full bloom later this year, but they be able to in 2024. An official timeline on when the Mill at Vicksburg will be done is yet to be announced.