By Jef Rietsma
Some important dates are on tap this month for the proposed renovation of the former Simpson Paper Co.
Projected to cost at least $60 million, the proposal includes a conversion of the existing historical structure and grounds to a multi-use facility to include apartments, hotel rooms, office space, event space, multiple food- and beverage-production facilities, a craft brewery and beer gardens.
Paper City Development President Chris Moore, the driving force behind the plan, is expected to attend the Oct. 3 Vicksburg Planning Commission work session. The matter is scheduled to appear on the panel’s agenda but a vote by the recommending body is expected to take place at the second meeting on Oct. 17.Because of the anticipated number of people expected to attend, the meeting will take place at Vicksburg High School’s PAC.
Vicksburg Village Council meets Oct. 15 and though the Paper City project will not be on its agenda, there’s a good chance the matter could be brought up during public comment.
Two nights later, on October 17, a potentially pivotal decision could be rendered by the village’s Planning Commission, as it may possibly call for a vote for or against recommending the project to the village council. Like the Oct. 3 work session, the Planning Commission will assemble at the Vicksburg High School PAC.
Barring a delay at the planning commission level, the issue would then move before the village council for a vote. Municipal officials said the issue is, in fact, on their Oct. 29 agenda, the meeting will be at the high school PAC to accommodate an anticipated large number of audience members.
The mill, which employed 300 people at its peak, has secured a spot in the National Register of Historic Places. The designation allows the project to qualify for federal tax credits to supplement the project’s expense.
A master plan was completed in 2016, emergency roof repairs have been conducted, and a fair amount of site and interior cleanup has taken place. The site is free and clear of asbestos, project manager Jackie Koney said.
Meanwhile, 10 support beams, each 24-feet in length, have been replaced due to weather-related damage.
Koney said the 420,000-square-foot building and 110-acre property are now owned by Paper City Development LLC.
A Vicksburg native who now calls the Seattle area home, Moore stepped in after plans were presented to demolish the mill, which closed in 2001.
Vicksburg Public Meetings Deal with the Mill Application
Wednesday, October 3 – Vicksburg Village Planning Commission work session. Public meeting, no vote at that time on the Mill’s Planned Unit Development application. 7 p.m. at the High School Performing Arts Center.
Monday, October 15 – Vicksburg Village Council meeting, 7 p.m. at the Brady Township Hall.
Wednesday, October 17 – Vicksburg Planning Commission meeting to vote on recommending the Mill project to the Village Council. Public meeting, 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.
Monday, October 29 – Special Vicksburg Village Council meeting possibly to vote on the Mill Planned Unit Development request. Public meeting, 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.