After a Memorial Day explosion and fire shuttered Sartell’s Verso paper mill, the worst fears of 259 employees and a surrounding community came true: The 105-year-old mill, an icon in Sartell and the city’s top taxpayer, will be closed permanently. That announcement was made Thursday.
Verso’s senior vice president of manufacturing and energy Lyle Fellows made the announcement during a news conference in the packed council chambers at Sartell City Hall. He said “after a very comprehensive assessment, Verso has made the extremely difficult decision not to reopen the Sartell mill”
The explosion caused the death of 50-year-old Jon Maus of Albany, and injuries to four others. A fire that burned for days led to the loss of paper estimated at $5 million and dismantling of a warehouse area. Fellows on Thursday estimated reconstruction costs would be in the “tens of millions of dollars.”
Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Amy Klobuchar will meet today (Friday) in Sartell with legislators and local leaders to sort through the ramifications of the Verso plant’s closure.