Brokaw resident reflects on paper mill's impact - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Brokaw resident reflects on paper mill's impact

BROKAW (WAOW)-- Some people in Brokaw say the mill defines the community and that its closing signals the end to a long-time way of life.

Diana Dettmering moved to Brokaw with her husband in 1968. She's seen first-hand the impact the Wausau Paper mill has had on the community. 

"It makes you sad because this...I always loved this little town. It was the perfect place to grow up. I like little town and little people. And it just don't get any better than that," she said.

Diane worked at the local library for 20 years. It closed down in 1995. Now, the mill is closing-- a source of pride and industry for the area.

"You wonder what's going to happen to the mill because it makes you feel bad that that was such a lucrative business years ago. If you worked at a paper mill you had a good job," she said.

She said the news of the mills closing has created a lot of uncertainty. "It's just a big maybe, but, I mean, it was a wonderful place to grow up."

She remembers a time when Wausau was growing. She still looks at photos of the village when it was in its prime with fond memories. "Everybody knew everybody's kids. You didn't have to worry about them," she said of the close-knit community.

She told Newsline 9 that now it seems the town is dying out. 

"Being as though there's so few people left down here anymore in the old village proper not the one above the hill, it's mostly grassy spots and the mill and the post office and credit union," she said.

She clings to old articles and photographs of Brokaw, representing memories of better times. Diane said she hopes something can be done to revive the town she loves.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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