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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the company spends $750,000 for this mill and then they layoff 28 people at there main plant, including pay cuts for senior operators. this is completely unfair. John Hazen is running this company into the ground.
I am happy for the dozen or so employees that have gainful employment, but this is far too little. I remember this facility very well. I was involved with a number of environmental engineering up-grades to meet the requirements of the State of MA and Housatonic River. I loved this mill, and while under the Fox River banner, they made fantastic products. The people of the mill were always very helpful and more than willing to assist in making the mill more eco friendly and commercially competitive.
I am disappointed that the recent changes have transpired. Had I known that the mill was for sale, under these terms, I would have given my last dime to insure the mill would not come to the fate that is sure to come with the current grade structure and management mindset.
I apologize for my late response, I have moved to the Southern U.S. to manage the region for a multinational company and lost touch with my routes-please forgive me.
Many Management and Hourly personnel would remember quite clearly. When the mill goes up for sale again, (and it will) let me know and my wife and I will do our dandiest to make it happen.
This is a truly historic paper manufacturing facility (that's in the school books) that should be restored to its former glory! It can be profitable in today’s market, at full capacity, as it used to be. This is possible in today’s economic climate, I know!