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Ozark Mill the focal point in larger Finley Farms development

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Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is planning a development featuring the historic Ozark Mill as the anchor.

The larger plans for the 32-acre Finley Farms project were unveiled yesterday, according to a news release.

The unveiling tied together previously announced features, including the renovation of the mill, an ice cream and coffee shop, and relocation of the Riverside Bridge, to form the most concrete picture yet of Morris’ plans in Ozark.

“The entire design will reflect authentic Ozarks style in an understated way. The site will honor the past but won’t be tied down by it,” said Megan Morris, Johnny Morris’ daughter who’s working on the Finley Farms and mill restoration project, in the release. “Instead of focusing on any one era, we will celebrate the entire story of this fascinating place, from its initial exploration and settlement to the current Ozarks culture today.”

Finley Farms’ features will include:
    •    the renovated Ozark Mill, which will be restored into a working mill for tours;
    •    Riverside Grill, a full-service restaurant inside the mill that overlooks the Finley River and pays homage to the now-shuttered Riverside Inn;
    •    The Garrison, a restaurant and speakeasy bar planned in the basement of the mill that’s a tribute to Howard Garrison, original proprietor of the Riverside Inn who was a bootlegger during Prohibition;
    •    The Farm, an urban farm that will grow fruits and vegetables from heirloom seeds to be used by Riverside Grill chefs;
    •    The Chapel, an open-air venue overlooking Finley River meant for ceremonies and as a trail site stop;
    •    The Workshop, an interactive learning and making space where guests can take courses in seed starting, beekeeping and weaving inside a renovated 1930s-era industrial garage;
    •    The Post, a 1,300-square-foot ice cream and coffee shop; and
    •    Riverside Bridge, which will be open to the public when not being used for private events.

Johnny Morris, who purchased the mill 25 years ago, in January began rolling out planned changes for the site. Crews since have worked on temporarily relocating the mill so its foundation can be rebuilt.

In the release, Morris said he has family ties to Ozark, local rivers and the milling industry. He said his grandfather was a miller in Willard, his parents lived on a Finley River mill pond and his family lived in Ozark for a time.

“We really hope the community embraces this project and takes pride in it. We have enjoyed reconnecting with the people that make this place special,” he said in the release.

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