WICKLIFFE, KY — A paper mill that many say was a staple in our community will have new life later this year.  The Verso paper mill laid off 310 employees in November of 2015 and closed in July of 2016, which impacted the surrounding businesses that depended on it.

The mill operating again could mean more opportunity for Wickliffe, Kentucky, and other communities in the region.

David Kissiar is a native of Wickliffe. The paper mill that once was the town’s heartbeat will soon start beating again.

“It employed so many people and so many spin-off jobs. I don’t know what they’re going to be, but if they’re anywhere near that size, it’s going to be a huge boost to the economy,” Kissiar said.

Kissiar says he delivered the last load of lumber to the mill before it shut down in 2016. With its re-opening, he sees potential and so do others.

The wright family that owns this sawmill says the re-opening of the paper mill in Wickliffe could mean more business for them here and for businesses across the region.

Butch Dowdy is a part-time truck driver for Wright’s Saw Mill in Arlington, Kentucky. He says the paper mill’s closure was shocking, but its re-opening could mean more hours for him.

“It [the community] pretty well died when the paper mill closed up here. It’s going to mean a lot,” Dowdy said.

Kissiar doesn’t know what the future holds, but he says he wants to make the first delivery there when the mill opens back up for business.

“I hauled my first load of wood in when I was 18 years old, and a couple of years ago I was the last one to haul wood in here. It’s been my life, this place has. I’ve dedicated my life to logging and pulp wooding,” Kissiar said.

That’s something he says will be crucial to the paper mill’s sustainability and the growth of his home town.

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