Weather Forecast


Park Falls' paper mill gets second life

PARK FALLS -- A bankrupt paper mill in northern Wisconsin will be re-opened, providing some 600 jobs for millworkers and loggers.

A Delaware bankruptcy court approved a bid by Johnson Timber Company of Hayward to buy the shuttered Park Falls mill for about $18 million.

Park Falls Mayor Tom Ratzlaff says it's great news and a great day for not only Park Falls but also for northern Wisconsin.

Johnson Timber President Butch Johnson says all 300 millworkers laid off in March will be re-hired. Also, he says when one adds to that total the 300 loggers who will supply the newly-named Flambeau River Mill, 600 jobs were saved.

Johnson is using a $4 million dollar state loan as part of the financing. He says diverse sides in the private and public sector and the unions all had to come together or this mill wouldn't have been resurrected.

This partnership did have strange bedfellows: State Senator Bob Jauch of Poplar says a Democratic governor came together with a prominent Republican businessman to save jobs.

Jauch called it a "huge success" and adds it may be one of the most "incredible" accomplishments in economics in recent times in Wisconsin because there was this giant partnership between Gov, Jim Doyle and Butch Johnson and legislators who came together.

The purchase will be closed July 25th. Johnson expects the mill to be making paper again by mid-August.