Kimberly confident redevelopment will begin in 2017 on former Newpage Mill site

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KIMBERLY, Wis (WBAY) - The village of Kimberly says it's confident that development will start progressing now more quickly on the Newpage Mill site in 2017.

NewPage mill property cleared
(WBAY photo)

The mill closed in 2008 and was partially demolished in 2011.

Back in June of last year developers broke ground on the project, but since then it hasn't been progressing as quickly as the village wanted.

That's when the village stepped in and bought the property.

Carrie Eickman has lived near the former mill site for the past five years, but it wasn't until the last few months that construction has picked up.

"It was really loud for a while, a lot was happening and then it was kind of stagnant for a while," said Eickman.

The village of Kimberly says that's because it bought the property for $5 million.

"The village decided to acquire the property, gain ownership so we can unilaterally move projects forward and redevelop the site as we envisioned with the company several years ago," said Rick Hermus, interim Village Administrator.

The village has borrowed about $13 million and created a tax increment finance district allowing it to capture the property taxes that come from the project.

The goal is to develop apartments and town homes after clearing and preparing the property.

"We have developers that are moving maybe late summer on actually putting buildings up on the site to start to generate that increment and to show that we're moving forward with it," said Hermus.

Kimberly has also hired an engineering and architect company to look at the remaining buildings on the mill site that are more than 100 years old to see if they can be a part of the redevelopment project.

"To make sure those foundations are adequate to support residential structures," said Hermus.

Gene Vandenberg has lived in Kimberly for more than seven decades.

He's hopeful for the plan and likes the idea of using structures from the mill site.

"Just like they did in Appleton down in the flats with those old paper mills, I mean mills down there," said Vandenberg.

Kimberly says the project could take 15 years to finish, but hopes a lot of redevelopment is done in the next five years.

"Lofty goal but I'm optimistic, I'm an optimist," said Eickman.