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MOP Environmental Solutions to buy Groveton mill

Green technology manufacturing, research & education center planned

September 27, 2011
GROVETON — MOP Environmental Solutions of Bath issued a press release on Monday night identifying itself as the company that signed a purchase & sale agreement on Friday with Jerry Epstein of Perry Videx LLC of Hainesport, N.J.

The mill complex, once home to two paper mills — Wausau Papers and Groveton Paper Board — "is being readied to begin a new life as a green technology manufacturing, research, and education center," the press release reads.

For more than six months MOP President Charles Diamond and Vice President Wayne King have been working in conjunction with local community, civic and business leaders to map out a strategy for revitalizing the Groveton mill complex.

Their work follows on the heels of studies by the North Country Council (NCC) and an extensive, far-reaching study completed by Preston Gilbert, who formerly served as the NCC's executive director and is now Director of the Brownfields Center at SUNY University in New York.

The NCC-commissioned Gilbert Study envisions the Groveton facility as a model for revitalizing shuttered paper mills across the Northeast and ultimately throughout the nation.

Preston gave a PowerPoint presentation in Groveton and at The Rocks in Bethlehem, and other locations about a year ago, where many excitedly embraced his concepts with a few fearing they were merely pie-in-the sky.

MOP Environmental Solutions has adopted much of Gilbert's conceptual model and plans to work closely with the town of Groveton, other local communities and these agencies to make the Groveton mill a focal point for a multi-tiered strategy to enhance year-round agricultural production in the Northeast; to create a manufacturing center for MOP's Maximum Oil Pickup oil absorbant products and a new line of Cellulose insulation; and to bring together other cutting-edge green technologies in recycling, bio-fuel production, and wood technologies to harness the resources of the Northern Forest region and the skills and enthusiasm of a dedicated and persistent workforce and community.

"We anticipate that as many as 500 jobs will be created at the facility in the next five years with 100 to 200 being added in 2012," said MOP President Charles Diamond.

"We are very enthusiastic about the possibilities that lie ahead," Diamond said. "This would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of many people, but we would be remiss if we did not recognize Bob Chapman of Chapman Metal Recycling whose efforts helped secure the buildings from the wrecking ball and Dave Auger of Groveton whose enthusiasm and community spirit kept the process alive during the coldest months of the last few years.

"The purchase of the mill provides the perfect fit for MOP by allowing us to expand our manufacturing to meet growing demand and to create synergies in our manufacturing by adding additional products, like cellulose insulation, where there is a high local demand; and MOP 401, a consumer product for the home and garage as well as for local fire departments, raceways and roadways," Diamond said.

"The HUB Zone designation of the region will also give the new businesses that we help grow here a competitive edge in federal procurement, boosting their competitiveness," he said.

The press release does not provide any information on MOP's source of financing, but likely that will be outlined when the purchase has been completed.

"We also intend to engage the townspeople in the process of determining the future of the mill, soliciting their help in designing a riverfront park, walking and shopping area that pays tribute to the history of Groveton and the mills; involving them in the development of educational programs in cooperation with White Mountains Community College and other nearby institutions of higher learning; and soliciting their ideas for entrepreneurial activities that would support the local economy," Diamond said. "What makes this project most exciting for all of us is the way in which it creates a public/private partnership for growth within the community and the opportunity to create a model for similar communities across the country."

"The Groveton Mill is not just a set of buildings," he said. " It represents more than 100 years of community life for a region where hard work and family values are a driving force that gives life to the community."

Reporter Jeff Woodburn also contributed to this story.

Varney Smith
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