Governor Jim Doyle today reopened the former Smart Papers mill, restoring 300 jobs for the Park Falls community and creating economic opportunities for timber and other industries in northern Wisconsin. In June, the Governor announced that Flambeau River Papers, LLC of Park Falls would receive a $4 million loan from the Department of Commerce to reopen and operate the former Smart Papers Mill.
“Today, Park Falls and Flambeau River Papers are an example of the best Wisconsin has to offer and represent what I am working to accomplish in Wisconsin,” Governor Doyle said. “This is great news for Park Falls, northern Wisconsin, and particularly the hardworking families who will once again have good, family-supporting jobs in this area.”
Smart Papers laid off approximately 300 workers when they filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. Flambeau River Papers’ successful bid to purchase and reopen the mill with state assistance will restore the 300 jobs. The company expects to rehire former Smart Papers workers as the mill becomes fully operational.
Flambeau River Papers, LLC, will use the state’s $4 million loan for the purchase of the facility and equipment and for working capital. The total project cost is $22.7 million.
“This project symbolizes what Governor Doyle’s economic plan is all about – creating jobs and building businesses,” said Mary Burke, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.
The mill is a critical purchaser of wood throughout northern Wisconsin, buying 140,000 cords of wood per year. Flambeau River Papers estimates that reopening the mill will support an additional 300 small logging businesses in the region and strengthen prices in Wisconsin’s logging industry. The mill buys lumber harvested under sustainable forestry practices.
For more information on Department of Commerce programs and services, contact the Commerce area development manager at www.commerce.wi.gov/MT/MT-FAX-0901.html