Legislators Have Hope for Harrisville Mill
The Dry Kiln Plant in Harrisville is quiet. Production stopped on Thursday. But after a meeting with company representatives, Lewis County officials are saying they're optimistic the plant won't be quiet for long.
Work at the plant ended on Thursday after its parent company, Bestway Enterprises, decided to put it up for sale. But while its officially closing at the end of the month, Lewis County legislators say after meeting with company representatives on Friday - they're optimistic a new buyer will sweep it up soon after.
"We like to think it just as a suspension, not a termination of production. Until a new owner can get in there," said Phil Hathaway, District one legislator.
When the plant closes it will take nearly thirty jobs with it. Even more considering the area loggers who supplied wood to the lumber mill. But Hathway says the county is working closely with the plant's owners to find a buyer and bring those jobs back.
"When you're talking 30 jobs with a small community like this - it has a big impact. And we want those people working. It's important," said Hathaway.
As far as the equipment at the sawmill, the owners say they're willing to keep it all in tact for potential buyers. That is, until the cold weather hits.
"They want this to be taken care of by winter for obvious reasons. They don't want to have to heat it or winterize it, which would be very expensive in either case," said Jack Bush, R-Brantingham.
County officials are even considering grant options for potential buyers. With the hope it'll be enough of an incentive for them to sweep the plant up and bring it back to life.
Thursday, March 5, 2015, Watertown, NY