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Hazen Paper Reopens Housatonic Mill

Staff reportsiBerkshires
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Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli, D-Lenox, speaks at ribbon-cutting ceremony. With him are Gov. Deval Patrick, left, and Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Gov. Deval Patrick joined local officials to mark the reopening of the former Rising Paper mill in Housatonic on Thursday.

The century-old building and its 15 acres on Route 183 was purchased by Hazen Paper Co. of Holyoke last month for $785,000.

The 83-year-old, family-owned business has been expanding in sales and work force, with four locations and 200 employees. The shuttered Rising Paper mill is the latest acquisition for the growing company. Hazen plans to produce multi-ply laminated sheets used in packaging and other applications at the mill.

The reopening was good news to South County, which has seen a number of paper producers close over the last few years. Rising Paper was one of group of mills sold by Fox River Paper Co. in spring 2007 to Neenah Paper Co. of Georgia, which promptly closed the facility and put more than 100 out of work.

While Hazen's short-term employment forecast is modest — less than a dozen workers — the facility allows for future growth.
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