Mum’s the word on mill

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—Isle of Wight County officials may soon learn more about International Paper Co.’s plans for its shuttered Franklin mill. The public, however, will have to wait a little longer.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously during a special called meeting on Tuesday to approve a confidentiality agreement with IP, opening the door for more information to come to the county.

“They have established their intent to share with us proprietary information of some kind,” said Lisa Perry, Isle of Wight’s economic development director.

She said similar agreements are routine in economic development projects.

“When we’re working on economic development projects, it’s very common for us to be asked to sign nondisclosure agreements,” Perry said. “In fact, I signed the agreement last week for the Department of Economic Development.”

County Attorney A. Paul Burton said the agreement applies to the Board of Supervisors and county staff.

IP spokeswoman Donna Wadsworth wrote in an e-mail Tuesday that the company anticipates the studies and decisions regarding the Franklin site could be completed early next year.

“We sincerely appreciate the patience of all stakeholders as we work together,” she wrote. “In the course of moving repurposing studies for the Franklin site forward, and determining the feasibility of project proposals, it is necessary to engage our community partners while at the same time maintaining confidentiality until final decisions on the future of the site can be determined.”