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by Chris Poturalski
Multimedia Journalist/Assignment Desk
Video of the Sappi Paper Mill demolition on Sunday.
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In a special FOX 17 series we’re focusing on communities forced to rebuild after a critical part their tax base, way of life, and job source is gone,
Paper mills were once a backbone industry in West Michigan, putting thousands to work with good paying manufacturing jobs.
They are part of the foundation of small towns that dot the regions rivers and lakes in the area.
For the most part, the large mills are a thing of the past. The vacant buildings scar part of the landscape as a reminder of something missing in the community.
It’s a problem city leaders want to fix overnight but the reality is change comes in years.
In the summer of 2013, we’ve seen a plant in Muskegon in its final stages of demolition, we’ve seen city hall in Plainwell move into a vacant plant as they try to rebuild around it.
In Parchment, city leaders are finally seeing infrastructure get put into place, progress citizens have been waiting years to see.
Each of these communities have the same problem. They are all on different paths to recovery.
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