Along with our entry into the containerboard market, the changes at our Kingsport Mill in Tennessee bring new recreational opportunities thanks to a land swap with the city of Kingsport for park land near downtown.
Our recent announcement of the mill conversion represents not only an exciting economic development but also a continued commitment to the community. As part of the project to convert the mill to manufacture recycled linerboard, we agreed to swap land parcels with the city — a park for a park — creating new opportunities for each location.
The city will receive the 40-acre Cement Hill property, located behind Kingsport’s train station, which is next to the 112-acre Brickyard Park property. In exchange, Domtar will receive Domtar Cloud Park and will contribute $500,000 toward relocating the memorial Scott Adams skate park that is currently located in Domtar Cloud Park.
The land swap will enable the mill to construct a new loading area after the conversion is complete in 2023.
Charlie Floyd, a Domtar vice president and former Kingsport mill manager (2003–2013), says, “Outside of job creation, we have a very strong presence in the community. … We have many generations of families working within our walls and have donated big parcels of land to the town for educational and recreational purposes.”
Kingsport City Manager Chris McCartt told a local news station that the land swap provides a new opportunity for recreation in the community.
“[The land] really in a lot of ways has been off-limits other than the industrial use that it historically has been known for. To be able to open that back up for the public is pretty special and something we’re excited about,” McCartt said to WJHL.
Cement Hill is probably best suited for a passive park, city officials say, with hiking and biking trails and vantage points for enjoying views of the city.
Land Swap Caps a Century of Community Investment
The mill and the city have a long history as partners. Pulp manufacturing began locally more than a century ago, and the pulp and paper industry has remained an important part of the local economy.
Kingsport Mill is unique because it has operated successfully in the middle of the city for many years. This has been possible because the chemistry of the pulping operation produces very minimal odor compared to kraft pulp mills.
In March 2007, Kingsport Mill became part of the Domtar family, along with other assets from the Weyerhaeuser fine paper division.
In 2009, Kingsport Mill donated land and helped develop the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), which promotes STEM education and modern manufacturing skills for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the manufacturing workforce.
Domtar certified its Maintenance Apprenticeship Program several years ago through RCAM with the U.S. Department of Labor, providing maintenance journeymen with a universally recognized credential that will benefit them wherever they apply to work.
In 2016, the mill sponsored more than a dozen community events to mark its 100th year in operation, including donating 100 trees to be planted near Memorial Park.
Former Kingsport Mayor John Clark noted the company’s contributions at that time. “We are honored to celebrate 100 years with a company that has a longstanding tradition of giving back to its community,” he said. “Thank you, Domtar, for making Kingsport a greener place to live now and for the next 100 years.”
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