The locks still look new on the gates at the former property at International Paper. City officials are working hard to find a way to unlock those gates and open the plant for business. "That location out there is unique. It has water access, railroad access, interstate access. I think it's very marketable, but we are going to have to use all of our resources," John McKinney a Moss Point Alderman told WLOX.
One possibility is to re-open the plant for paper production. The PACE Union is working on plans to buy the site from IP with the help of former employees. Moss Point Alderman are doing what they can to get behind the project by writing letters to International Paper. Ralph Davis believes the paper business isn't a realistic option for Moss Point anymore. Davis is part of a community action group, called IMPACT, looking at new business options for the site, like a trucking terminal or a warehouse. "I think it could be farmed out into something. It might not be just one product but it might be several different things. It's very important that the city can work with International Paper and get something in to the Mill," he said. He says that if the city can't place a paper mill in that location, then the city should look at other options.
City and business leaders have several months to find the best option for the plant's future, because International Paper is still in the process of shutting down and cleaning up the plant site. The I-P site has been the city's single largest property tax source and the company has already paid those taxes for this year.