Ottawa Forest Products Inc., a hardwood sawmill, will begin production Aug. 1 in Ironwood, in the western corner of the Upper Peninsula (U.P.).
"Ironwood aggressively pursued this company," says Edward Bailey, assistant city manager. The advantages to the city's economy include property tax revenue and year-round full-time jobs in a community with chronic high unemployment and many seasonal low-paying jobs.
The city of 6,800 submitted an application, on behalf of Ottawa Forest Products, Inc., for a $185,000 loan from the Michigan Community Development Block Grant program. The city also provided a low-interest loan to assure Ironwood's selection over other cities in Michigan and Wisconsin that were under consideration.
The sawmill will be located in the Industrial Park area of Ironwood on a previously undeveloped site, which the city leveled and cleared. The Ironwood Industrial Development Corp., a local group of private business leaders, is constructing the building and will lease it back to the company.
Dan Corullo, president, Ottawa Forest Products Inc., an Ironwood resident and owner of Corullo Lumber Co., says the plentiful supply of hardwood lumber in the area and the available labor force were contributing factors in the selection of Ironwood for the sawmill. He also cites a Michigan Department of Natural Resources study which confirmed that the western UP was a good source of the hardwood type of lumber needed for the sawmill's products.
The hardwood stock produced by the mill will be used in furniture, hardwood floors and moldings, cabinets and pallet boards.
When fully operational, shortly after the August opening, the sawmill will operate two shifts employing 30 people and is expected to produce 7 million board feet of lumber yearly.