A local family wants to see its former property turned into a county park, and a 5K race on Sept. 15 will help accomplish that goal.
Healan’s-Head’s Mill in Lula, which was built in the 1850s, is being restored by Hall County in hopes of creating a 100-acre park. Fred and Burnice Healan purchased the mill in the 1960s and were its last private owners. The county bought the property in 2003.
The race Sept. 15 will start at the mill and end at North Georgia Canopy Tours, giving runners the opportunity to see the mill and future park site. North Georgia Canopy Tours is offering race participants discounts on tours and teepee stays.
Run the Mill 5K
What: 5K run to support restoration of Healan’s-Head’s Mill
When: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15
Where: Healan’s-Head’s Mill; park at North Georgia Canopy Tours, 5290 Harris Road, Lula
How much: $25
The county hopes to turn the property into a park with green space, hiking trails and the restored mill as a historical site with a heritage center. The project is in its third of four phases, with fundraising now focusing on getting the mill’s wheel running again. Water will need to be transported from the dam, located north of the mill, to the wheel, and the wheel and flume will need to be repaired.
Grants and special purpose local option sales tax dollars are funding the project, with the Healan family and a committee of community members known as Friends of Healan’s-Head’s Mill stepping in to raise the remaining money.
Tyler Healan of Gainesville, Fred and Burnice Healan’s grandson, said the family wants to share the property with the community and see the mill restored.
“We grew up out there and just want to be able to have the same memories for people in the future, so everybody can enjoy it, not just us. … It was huge for my grandmother whenever she was able to get it into the history books,” Healan said.
The 5K course will be on both paved and dirt roads and is a straight route with only one turn, but dogs and strollers are not recommended due to rough terrain.
Runners can register online for the race, and organizers are also looking for volunteers for the event.
Friends of Healan’s-Head’s Mill also has a haunted trail event scheduled for October as another fundraiser.