HARRODSBURG, Ky. (WAOW) - While hundreds of Wausau Paper workers in central Wisconsin worry about their jobs, the company hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its Kentucky plant Thursday to celebrate a $220 million expansion that creates 76 new jobs.
"Kentucky is aggressive about attracting new companies, but we're also very proud of the success and growth of companies that have made a commitment to the Commonwealth," Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement. "Wausau Paper is an exemplary company."
Wausau Paper has produced towel and tissue products at the Harrodsburg plant since 1990. The expansion includes a new, 138-ton machine that can make about 75,000 tons of towel and tissue products per year, boosting total employment to more than 470 workers.
Wausau Paper recently closed its mill in Brokaw, Wis., eliminating about 450 jobs, and announced it was shutting down its Brainerd, Minn., factory, eliminating 130 jobs.
In January, Wausau Paper said mills in Brainerd, Mosinee, Wis., and Rhinelander, Wis., were for sale, as the company planned to focus solely on making tissue and towel, which are produced at its mills in Kentucky and Ohio.
So far, no buyers have surfaced for the mills.
To encourage the investment and job growth in Harrodsburg, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority provided Wausau Paper with incentives worth up to $6 million through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments, the governor said.
Wausau Paper is also eligible to recover up to $1.1 million in sales and use taxes on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment, the governor said.