At a glance
What we know: Kimberly officials and business leaders have been working to find new uses for the former NewPage paper mill, which closed in 2008.
The latest: A developer has come forward with a plan to open a facility to make wood pellets as fuel for wood-burning stoves and furnaces, and other uses.
What’s next: The village is waiting for definitive plans.
Kimberly mill timeline
September 2008: Miamisburg, Ohio-based NewPage Corp. closes paper mill in Kimberly, eliminating 600 jobs.
June 2011: Montreal-based scrap metal specialist American Iron & Metal Co. Inc. announces the purchase of the Kimberly mill.
July 2011: New North Inc., an 18-county regional economic organization for northeastern Wisconsin, actively seeks redevelopment ideas for the mill.
August 2011: AIM takes out a demolition permit to remove a 75,000-square-foot section of the 1.1 million-square-foot mill.
October 2011: AIM begins removing and dismantling some of the mill's internal components. Assorted tools and equipment once used in the mill is sold at auction.
October 2011: Village leaders and the New North Inc. confirm that after nearly nine months of negotiations, Forrest Resources LLC, an Illinois-based packaging and paper company, withdrew plans to reopen the mill, citing the weak economy and changing market conditions.
February 2012: AIM representatives reveal a redevelopment proposal for the property to the village, which includes the creation of AIM Development to oversee a project that could include riverfront condominiums and multi-tenant housing on the mill site's west side now occupied by its wastewater treatment plant.
March 2013: Village officials say a proposed site plan, which would include possible street layout and areas for residential development, could be revealed in the next one to two months.
March 2013: Developer discloses proposal to open wood pellet production facility
KIMBERLY — Village leaders are hopeful a plant that makes wood pellets will breathe new life into the former NewPage paper mill, which closed in 2008, leaving 600 people without jobs.
But, Administrator Adam Hammatt said until Dennis Williams, publisher of Grand Chute-based Community Color Mailer, submits a written plan to the Village Board for review, officials remain skeptical.
“We’re still waiting on an official plan and proposal,” Hammatt said.
While several details still need to be worked out, Williams insists the business will open. The former mill site — portions of which have been torn down since the Ohio-based company closed the facility — is a suitable location because it is set up for truck traffic, has rail access and features warehouse space that would require little renovation to be ready for production.
“This is going to happen,” Williams said. “It’s just a matter of when it will happen.”
Williams said his wood pellet operation could “directly and indirectly employ anywhere between 500 and 1,000 people,” though he wouldn’t specify how many people his plant would employ.
He plans to meet April 3 with representatives of the Bliss Co. of Minnesota from which he will buy equipment he needs. He will then determine start-up costs and staffing needs.
Williams said Earth Sense Energy Systems, a company based in Dale that sells wood-burning stoves, furnaces and boilers, would buy the pellets his facility produces. Some of the Dale company’s customers purchase 3.5 tons of wood pellets annually, he said.
Williams’ proposal for the former NewPage site follows a failed plan by Forrest Resources LLC, a packaging and paper company based in Illinois that withdrew its proposal in October 2011 to reopen the mill, citing the weak economy and changing market conditions.
Hammatt said the village is interested in learning more about Williams’ plan.
“Any idea that would put residents back to work and provide tax base, we’re willing to entertain any proposal that comes forward, but we need to see a plan to determine how it would affect and help out the community,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hammatt said the village in the next two months hopes to unveil a plan for the mill site, which occupies a 100-acre parcel that includes about 5,000 feet of riverfront.
The proposed site plan — which is being developed from ideas generated at three community meetings last fall — would showcase street layouts and designate open space, residential areas and potential segments for commercial use.
— Larry Avila: 920-993-1000, ext. 292, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @LarryAvila