The city of Wisconsin Rapids has been facing the challenge of what to do with the paper mill property that has been idle for over three years.
The paper mill, operated by Verso, stopped production in June 2020, leading to the displacement of more than 900 employees who had to seek alternative employment opportunities. Despite the shutdown, Verso continued some converting operations at the mill.
To address the issue of the idle property, the city's Planning Commission and Common Council came together for a joint meeting. During this meeting, they discussed a hypothetical plan for the paper mill property, aiming to find a feasible solution for its future use. The outcome of this discussion was the adoption of the "Wisconsin Rapids Recovery and Reuse Plan," which outlines potential strategies and ideas for redeveloping or repurposing the property.
However, it is essential to understand that any plans formulated by the city are currently hypothetical and subject to change. The future reuse or redevelopment of the paper mill property is largely dependent on Billerud's plans for the site. It should be noted that Verso, the previous operator of the paper mill, merged with Billerud in March 2022. After the merger, Billerud continued some converting operations at the Wisconsin Rapids mill.
In summary, the city of Wisconsin Rapids is taking proactive steps by adopting a recovery and reuse plan for the idle paper mill property. However, the actual implementation of any such plans depends on the decisions and actions of Billerud, the company that now owns and operates the mill. As the situation is subject to change, ongoing communication and collaboration between the city and the company will be crucial in determining the future of the paper mill property.