by Tashun Chism
For years, the Abitibi papermill was one of the cornerstones of Lufkin's economy. But now that it's closed, city officials must look toward the future.
"It was sad when it first happened, but realistically it was really probably the second best announcement we could have gotten. At least now knowing the status of the mill we can work with the company to try to get a new user in there and we can move foward with our plans instead of playing the waiting game," Jim Wehmeier, Director of Economic Development for the city of Lufkin said.
"Our goal would be to find someone that could use a lot of the material, a lot of the space, and a lot of the idividuals that once were employed there," Lufkin city manager Paul Parker said.
City offficials are considering several options for the building's future use if Abitibi can't find anyone to buy it.
"They own rights to a about 20 million plus gallons of ground water and surface water rights. The city is very interested in those right if we can work it out where we can buy them.that would be a much cheaper source than the sam rayburn water that we have. Also they have a state of the art sewer plant on the property that the city would be very interested in at some point," Parker added.