THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
END OF AN ERA
For many years, Peshtigo was known as a paper mill town, a place where raw wood was converted into paper, from start to finish. Badger Paper Mill facilities, including the huge pulp mill and its accompanying wood yards on the east side of the Peshtigo River dominated the citys skyline and its economy. All that is changing. The original Badger Paper Mills declared bankruptcy in 2005 and facilities subsequently were purchased by BPMI. The paper mill was reactivated after being shut down only a short time, and continues to operate as BPMI, but pulp is now brought in from other sources. Photo above shows crews at work demolishing the old pulp mill, which has been idle for over a decade. In cooperation with the city and with the help of grants from Wisconsin agencies including the Department of Commerce and the Department of Natural Resources, studies were conducted on possible site contamination and future uses of the property. In July, BPMI General Manager Jim Koronkiewicz thanked City Council for cost sharing the studies and helping to secure grants that made the reclamation project feasible, but said the firm would now proceed with demolition as a private business entity and there would be no further cost to the city. BPMI officials have not indicated what their future plans for the river front property may be, but Koronkiewicz told City Council in July that use studies funded by the CDBG grant and cited on other successful grant applications, including those for Site Assessment Grants, will be taken into consideration. At the council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6 a letter from Koronkiewicz advised that BPMI had entered into an agreement with Northwoods Environmental Industries, Inc. of Ontonagon, Mich. to abate and demolish all structures on the Badger Pulp Mill site. This includes the proper disposal of all materials and restoration of the site. Northwoods Environmental will work in conjunction with its subcontractor, Superior Excavation of Hurley, LLC. to complete all work as specified in the project manual for site demolition prepared by Ayres Associates of Waukesha.