Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (WAOW) -- The City of Wisconsin Rapids is working with "key partners and organizations" to address the impacts of Verso Ccorporation's plan to idle operations at their Wisconsin Rapids paper mill.
The City is communicating with mill management, Senator Patrick Testin’s office, Representative Scott Krug’s office, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the North Central Workforce Development Board
(NCWWDB) and the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Shane Blaser and Director of Community Development, Kyle Kearns, are working on the local response effort, which includes coordinating resources and strategizing economic development opportunities.
“While there are still questions about what this will mean for the future of the paper mill, it is clear that this is an unfortunate development for our community,” said Mayor Blaser in a release. “Please know that I will do everything in my power to soften the impact and support State efforts to ease the transition. Doing everything in my power to secure a vibrant future for our community is my priority.”
The North Central Workforce Development Board's Dislocated Worker-Rapid Response team is coordinating next steps for impacted employees. There will be a virtual "community response" team meeting in the near future.
Testin and Krug are organizing a bipartisan task force that includes public officials at the local, state and federal levels, community organizations, and industry representatives.
“The mill has served as the backbone of the community and has supported many businesses and families for generations.” said Kyle Kearns, Director of Community Development in a release. “The pride and dedication shown by residents employed or in connection to the mill throughout these generations are what will ensure the community can overcome this unfortunate event. The City has become more resilient with time, by investing in its citizens, infrastructure and industry. While the news is a devastating blow to the community, Wisconsin Rapids has transformed and positioned itself to better respond to adversity.”
The Mayor's Office is responding to all resident inquires and suggestions. Economic development inquires and suggestions can be sent to Kyle Kearns at firstname.lastname@example.org. General inquiries to the Mayors Office at email@example.com.