Wood County Reacts To Domtar Closing - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wood County Reacts To Domtar Closing

WOOD COUNTY -- For over 100 years, the economy of the Village of Port Edwards and South Wood County has revolved around the paper-making industry. "We know we are paper towns around this part of the river. That's how we got to be where we are today and frankly we've been very proud of it, but the paper industry has some sectors that are aging and no longer profitable," says Mary Jo Carson, Wisconsin Rapids Mayor. The announcement of Domtar's closure has left community leaders shocked. "There was some speculation but it was a complete surprise to hear the whole facility will be closed down," says Joe Terry, the Village of Port Edwards Engineer Administrator. He says the economic impact on the community will be huge. "When it comes to a very local perspective. When it comes to services the village provides and in property tax dollars it's about $750,000 dollars of loss and that's shared between the school districts and the state," says Terry. While that loss won't be experienced until 2010, the more immediate loss will be the employees and their families who may be forced to move to find new jobs. "The economic impacts of that. Most of those salaries are spent in this area. Those kids go to these schools. They live in this community. They buy groceries at the local grocery stores. It's difficult to quantify at this point, but it is going to be very substantial," says Terry. But leaders in surrounding cities like Wisconsin Rapids are working together to make sure the impact is as minimal as possible. "It hits us all. We all know somebody. We all are aware of families and friends who will be impacted by this so this is a definition of community that we are reinforcing here. We are all in this together," says Mayor Carson. Next week at the Port Edwards High School, Wood County leaders will hold a press conference to address the community response to this mill closing. The press conference will have school superintendents, government leaders and other regional leaders to discuss plans for the community.
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