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Newton Falls mill equipment on auction block

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NEWTON FALLS — An auction date for sale of equipment at Newton Falls Fine Paper has been set, but a company representative said hope remains to sell the mill intact.

“I have a positive outlook we can find someone. There seems to be interest from more than one source,” said Robert G. Patzelt, vice president of corporate development, Scotia Investments, Halifax, Nova Scotia, the parent company of the Newton Falls plant. “We’ve only just set an auction date.”

If the mill, which shut down in 2010, is not sold as operational, its equipment is scheduled for auction at 11 a.m. March 21 in Syracuse. The sale listing includes two paper machines, along with various pieces of equipment and inventory. The real estate, including the 15-acre manufacturing site, and about 4,000 acres of land, is being offered by private negotiation.

Mr. Patzelt said the future of the plant building remains unknown.

“I can’t speculate on that,” he said. “It all depends on what happens with the parties we’re dealing with.”

The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency is trying diligently to keep the mill as a potential employer, Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly said.

“The IDA is very aware of the status of the facility and is working to find a way for the mill to remain intact and utilized as a job-creating asset,” he said. “We think it has a higher value intact as an operating mill. We are concerned an auction could lead to a host of negative impacts on the community.”

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