Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with leaders in Sartell Friday afternoon to discuss the future of the now-shuttered Verso paper mill.
The meeting was focused on moving forward following Thursday's announcement that the company will not reopen the mill, which was heavily damaged in an explosion and fire in late May. All 259 workers at the plant will lose their jobs.
Dayton said the laid-off workers will receive unemployment benefits. He also said he's interested in revitalizing the mill site. "Something that's going to provide as many jobs as possible that are as close in their functions to those that are there now," said Dayton. "We'll have to see whether that's possible or not. But certainly the job creating part of it is a big, big factor."
Joe Perske, the mayor of Sartell, agreed that whatever takes the mill's place should bring jobs.
"Today we start a different mind set. An idea, perhaps, of how we can bring that mill to perhaps another use," he said. "Also, those are hurting workers. How are we going to deal with that? How are we going to get them to bring their lives back together again?"
Dayton also talked about possibility of trying to work the mill into an upcoming special legislative session aimed at getting help to flood victims in northeastern Minnesota.