SARTELL - Coming up on the third anniversary of the Verso Paper Mill fire in Sartell, art work featuring pieces from the mill are in the works. Heidi Jeub is the lead artist on the project, and along with Joe Schulte, Kyle Fokken, Chris Zlatic, and Josh Fay, the Sartell Paper Mill Arts Project is moving along.

They all have different perspectives, different ideas, and so we’re going to lead with about five or six sculptures in Val Smith Park, and/or Watab Park.

A view of the former Verso Paper Mill from the playground at Watab Park.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

Jeub says they were able to tour the paper mill site to pick out pieces that could be used in the artwork. The mill's parts are being used for a variety of projects from silhouettes of the mill, to benches, and bike racks.

"For Kyle Fokken’s piece we’ve got two large granite rolls. They are about 18-feet long, and they are about 20 – 24 inches in diameter. Two of those are going to be linked together in a creative manner to create a really, really long bench," says Jeub.

Jeub says her piece includes different parts of the mill that will be layed out to create a silhouette of the mill as it once stood. Chris Zlatic will be creating a piece using two of the mills vapor valves, and LED lighting. Joshua Fay will be using different parts to create a bench, and Joe Schulte will be using some of the gears to create a bike rack with a silhouette of the mill.

Jeub says having this artwork in the parks is a great opportunity for the mill to live on. She says it’s become an emotional project because there is no other place to showcase the paper mill.

It is a nice way to pay tribute to something that actually started the community.  I look forward to the idea of former workers of the mill bringing their kids, or grandkids down to the park to say 'this is where we pushed the water out of the pulp'. If somebody wanted to take their grandkids around, and explain the mill, and what it was in grandma or grandpa’s life, they can do that by just walking through the park.

Jeub says there is still around $15,000 dollars to be raised through community support. If you would like to donate to the project, or keep track of the progress, Jeub says to contact the team through its Facebook page.

They are hoping to have the artwork done and in place by the summer.

Both of the parks getting art pieces had a view of the former Verso Paper Mill, here from Val Smith Park's playground.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)