SARTELL -- It will be five years Monday since an explosion destroyed the former Sartell Verso Paper Mill and a group of residents are preserving its history.

Project Leads Dennis Molitor and Joe Schulte have been spending the past year fundraising and constructing a monument dedicated to the mills history.

"It's very exciting when you see it coming together, especially when it's all coming together in the last few days," says Molitor.

The project costs roughly $14,000 and has been funded through numerous community members, businesses and organizations.

Molitor says the project will not only have some pieces of the mill, but tell a story highlighting the mills over 100 year history.

"We're going to mount a large frame to hold five dryer gears from the mill, put on a thirty-foot panogram on the top, and have several story boards giving people facts of mills long history," says Molitor.

A special dedication will be held Monday at Veterans Park for the project. Molitor says he hopes the project continues to spark the conversation and preserve a vital piece of Sartell's history.

"This is my small way of preserving some of that history for future generations of the significant's of the plant," says Molitor.

The site is currently under a moratorium until a Task Force created to plan for potential future uses for the property, finalizes their findings for the property.

(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)