SARTELL -- We continue our series of follow up stories called "Whatever Happened With That?" here on WJON. Today we look at the latest plans for the former verso paper mill site in Sartell.


What once was a staple to the community has now sat empty since demolition took place back in 2013. Over the summer a special task force was created to determined the appropriate land uses on three general areas - the paper mill site, parts of DeZurik and the hydro facility.

The task force concluded their findings earlier this summer and presented a strategic plan to the council. Community Development Director Anita Archambeau says the study determined the site to be categorized as industrial.

"The outcome was the have it as office/warehouse type use becomes of the complexity of the site. The railroad and viability from the surrounding roads make it a viable site for that type of developments."

Some of the other findings included the property owner/future developers are responsible to address environmental concerns on the site, the property could be costly to redevelop, and know site could take years, if not decades, to develop.

Archambeau says even though the site may be designated as industrial, that doesn't mean they won't listen to other options if a terrific development plan is presented.

The property is privately owned by AIM Development and any plans would need to first be submitted by them which puts the city in a waiting game.

"The efforts to develop those properties does come from the private side because they are privately owned. So we are on their time table in terms of when and if a development plan comes in the picture for the development of that property."

The former mill site has been vacant since a fire and explosion in 2012.

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