Regional roundup

Posted on Dec 30, 2019 :: Regional Roundup
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

interstate 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Green Bay Packaging switches to natural gas, reduces emissions

Green Bay Packaging is outlining plans to become a leader in sustainability. At a recent news conference, the paper mill announced it had turned off its coal-fired boilers and is now running exclusively on natural gas, a move that reduces the company’s emissions by 90 percent.

The paper company broke ground in August 2018 on a new $500 million facility, which is the largest economic development project in Brown County history. In December, Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich joined company leaders for an update on the project.

“We’re excited to talk about what will be the most environmentally friendly mill in the United States,” Green Bay Packaging Executive Vice President Bryan Hollenbach said at the press conference.

With the new facility, the company committed to hiring 200 employees statewide, and it’s already exceeded that, Hollenbach said. While there’s still a long way to go on the project, Green Bay Packaging anticipates starting up the first paper machine in the first quarter of 2021.

Hollenbach also discussed plans for finding talent. He said the company has strong groups of both veteran and new employees.

“We’ve actually developed an education system for the new employees that we’re bringing in. We’ve actually started kind of our own Green Bay Packaging University. We’re teaching new employees as we hire them, but it’s always a challenge to find new employees, so that’s something that we’re actively working on as we move forward,” Hollenbach said.

Green Bay Port surpasses goal for 2019 shipping season

The Port of Green Bay surpassed its goal of 2 million tons for the 2019 shipping season.

In November, nearly 207,000 tons of cargo moved into and out of the port, putting the annual total at 2,081,962 tons. Year-to-date tonnage is 9 percent ahead of the total from the end of November 2018.

“Two million tons is the benchmark for a successful shipping season for the Port of Green Bay,” Port of Green Bay Director Dean Haen said. “Hitting that mark at the end of November is great news with several weeks of shipping remaining before the season closes. We’re still optimistic that we’ll reach 2.3 million tons for this season.”

In November, more than 680,000 tons of limestone were imported, with domestic imports of limestone outpacing last year by 23 percent. Foreign salt imports are up 60 percent, and foreign exports of petroleum products are up 125 percent from what they were in November 2018. For the season, 161 ships have visited the port.

The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Door County releases employment website and marketing campaign

With more than 800 jobs available countywide, the Door County Economic Development Corp. has launched a website and marketing campaign aimed at attracting job seekers.

To fill those jobs and address the questions people may have when considering relocation, DCEDC has debuted a new website, livedoorcounty.org. The campaign was funded in part through a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The new initiative represents the culmination of a collaborative effort with business and community leaders for several months about ways to entice people to come to Door County. Jobs are plentiful and local businesses are eager to fill open positions and expand — if only they could build the workforce they need. Some businesses have considered expanding outside the county due to workforce shortages.

Of the hundreds of job opportunities available in Door County, many are full time offering competitive wages and benefits at companies that are willing to provide training.

The LIVE Door County campaign is intended to be used by employers countywide to help market their available jobs and Door County’s suitability as a new home. Jobs posted through Job Center of Wisconsin, jobsindoorcounty.com, and Indeed are all merged into the job board located on the site.

Part of the picture of attracting residents to the county is offering affordable housing options. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council recently took a step toward that, voting 5-2 to advance a plan to offer affordable housing on the site of the former West Side School and ball field.

The plans call for a 40-unit apartment complex that includes 10 units within the old school and 30 more where the ball field presently sits. The project is still contingent on Northpointe Development receiving affordable housing and historic tax credits to be approved by the state by April 2020.

Sister Bay will be home to county’s first new hotel in nearly 20 years

Door County is getting its first new hotel in nearly two decades.

Built in downtown Sister Bay, the Dörr Hotel will have 47 rooms and 4,300 square feet of retail space. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is providing a $250,000 Community Development Grant for the $8.1 million project, which should be finished in 2021. The hotel will employ 10 to 15 people.

Bayland Buildings Inc. is the developer for the site and says the project is intended to complete Sister Bay’s downtown area by developing a lot that’s been vacant for more than nine years. The hotel will fill a gap in the number of local hotel rooms since Helm’s Four Season Hotel closed. That site was then transformed into the current Sister Bay bandshell and public beach.

The Dörr Hotel website will begin taking reservations this spring to secure stays for dates in 2021.

West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Berlin hospital adding new emergency department

ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin is adding a new 9,000-square-foot emergency department, which will open in early 2021. Construction will begin next spring with the total cost expected to be between $7.5 million and $9.5 million.

The need for emergency services in rural markets is significant. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found rural emergency departments have experienced more than a 50 percent increase in patient visits during the last 10 years, despite a 5 percent decline in the overall U.S.
rural population.

The emergency department is designed to create a comfortable, soothing environment. The larger rooms will allow patients to have family members with them while still providing enough space for hospital staff to provide treatment.

The new department will include a larger trauma room, a room with a bariatric lift to aid care providers in transferring disabled patients or those who have difficulty standing, and a gathering room for families. It will also provide more access to telehealth technology.

The current emergency department will be open during construction.

The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Marinette among Northeast Wisconsin cities to receive brownfield grants

Marinette was among four cities to receive a total of $92,000 in brownfield grants.

The assistance comes from the Department of Natural Resources’ Wisconsin Assessment Monies program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000. The work helps city officials and others assess possible contamination at sites where cleanup and redevelopment may take place or is being planned.

The site in Marinette is in the 1500 block of Main Street. It formerly housed several businesses, including a manufactured gas plant, a cylinder sleeve maker, a dye and leather manufacturer and a trolley car switching station. The city and a local community action network are looking to redevelop the property into affordable housing.

In addition to Marinette, Appleton, Allouez and Winneconne received funds.