La Crosse, WI – Today, Rep. Ron Kind announced that the City of Wisconsin Rapids will receive $144,000 from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) through the CARES Act. This investment will help Wisconsin Rapids recover from the idling of the paper mill and become more resilient in the face of future economic disruptions.
“Throughout a difficult year, the Wisconsin Rapids community has continued to show strength in the face of adversity,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “I’m thrilled to see this investment to support the city in recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and the idling of the paper mill that employed 900 Wisconsinites. This funding will go a long way towards helping the Wisconsin Rapids community build back stronger than ever and continue to succeed in the future.”
The EDA investment will help fund a recovery strategy for the City of Wisconsin Rapids amid reduced economic activity due to COVID-19 and layoffs from the mill’s idling. The project will include a market assessment, community participation in goal-setting, redevelopment strategies for the neighborhood where the mill was located, and an action plan to implement recommendations made in the strategy. This funding was provided through the CARES Act, which gave the EDA $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
Since Verso Corporation announced plans to idle the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill in June 2020, Rep. Kind has worked with state, local, and federal officials, industry and labor representatives, and Verso employees to develop a plan for the future of the mill and to provide support for the employees and their families. Rep. Kind has taken steps to provide additional job training services for those looking for new employment opportunities and has worked with the Evers Administration to try to find a new buyer for the mill. Additionally, in August, Rep. Kind led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in support of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition filed on behalf of workers at the Verso paper mill. Following the letter, the TAA petition was approved, providing the nearly 900 Verso employees with the support they need and the resources to secure future employment opportunities.