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Some Hope Remains For Future of Paper Mill in Wisconsin Rapids


There may be some hope for the future of the Verso Paper Mill in Wisconsin Rapids. 

When operating, the mill bought timber from loggers across northern Wisconsin. 

Mayor Shane Blaser says talks with Verso about the paper mill in his city have warmed up in recent weeks. 

“They’re still intent to sell the mill.  So we’re hoping to see that happen and support it in whatever way we can and hopefully see that switch turned back on”, said Blaser.

He says for the first time the company has given an indication that they may continue operating the mill once the COVID-economy turns around.

“We can start to see a new look in the economy and a rebound or find a buyer that’s interested in doing something else with it in the paper market.  We’re just kind of waiting and hoping right now”

Talks to save the mill took a turn for the worse back in late October when Verso said they would suspend the effort to sell the mill due to the current economic climate.  That led to outrage from local and state lawmakers.

The plant had some 900 employees and processed a quarter of the state's timber when it idled back in July, ending a century of paper-making history in the city.

After the mill stopped operation last year, Henry Schienenbeck, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association headquartered in Rhinelander, told WXPR the Rapids mill alone used 1.5 million tons of wood each year.

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