WICKLIFFE, KY — A new investment with new jobs. On Friday in a conference call with local leaders in Wickliffe, Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin announced that Phoenix Paper is investing $200 million to expand the paper mill by adding a paper recycling facility.
It could employ up to 150 people. Phoenix Paper plant manager Craig Tatum says it's something they have been looking to do all along.
"This has really been the vision of our parent company for quite some time," says Tatum.
Tatum says the new recycling facility will take old paper and turn it into pulp that will be shipped to China. He says it'll be a good addition to what they're doing now.
"Just the can-do attitude has been a part of our success up until the point, and I think that's the same thing we're going to do going forward," says Tatum.
Ballard County Judge Executive Todd Cooper says this is an unexpected surprise.
"This is an amazing day for west Kentucky, southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, and west Tennessee," says Cooper.
Cooper hopes that will attract people back to west Kentucky.
"Hopefully with wins like this and others in other counties, we can start to see our population start to trend in a positive direction," says Cooper.
Cooper says bringing in jobs like this is essential for the next generation.
"I've got three grand babies, and when they graduate from high school and college and they want to stay in west Kentucky, and southern Illinois, west Tennessee. That's what I want, and that's why I bust my butt every day, is to keep my grand babies here," says Cooper.
It could take up to 18 months to get the new facility built and in full operation. Phoenix says the new mill will offer several types of jobs like operators, engineers, managers, and a few office workers. Construction on the recycling facility will begin immediately.