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Official says plant won't smell

February 13, 2002

Official says plant won't smell



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


A representative of the new owner of the idle paper recycling plant in Hagerstown on Tuesday reiterated past claims that the plant won't produce a foul odor and could be running again by the end this year.

Mark Roseborough, a vice president for plant owner Belkorp Industries, met with the Mayor and City Council on Tuesday.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire asked whether the plant would produce an odor as it did when it was operating in 1997.

"What odor? These plants don't have an odor. With normal operating practice there should be no odor," Roseborough said.

Belkorp, which is based in Vancouver, bought the plant at Memorial and Eastern boulevards for $7.5 million at a bankruptcy auction in November. Roseborough has said the Hagerstown plant will operate under a subsidiary company, Newstech MD, which also will be the new name of the plant.

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With the sale, the City of Hagerstown and Washington County governments received more than $560,000 in back taxes owed by the former owners.

The city is still owed about $2.1 million for the construction of an electric substation and an upgrade of power lines for the paper recycling plant.

City officials are hopeful the sale of the plant means it will be restarted, and the debt paid. Roseborough said Tuesday that negotiations are ongoing on that issue.

The $220 million recycling plant, which has been known as 1st Urban Fiber and Hagerstown Fiber, opened in October 1996 and was in operation for less than a year. In December 1998, an involuntary bankruptcy petition was filed in court against the ownership group, Hagerstown Fiber Limited Partnership.

Since Belkorp took over the plant, five people have been hired to provide maintenance and security at the plant. The plant will have 75 to 85 employees when it starts recycling operations, Roseborough said.

Once running, the Hagerstown plant will produce recycled paper pulp. The pulp will be sent to another plant to be turned into paper that could be used for newspaper inserts, he said.

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