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Production starts Monday at old Stimson mill site

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Jan 29 2013 10:28:24 PM MST
Stimson mill
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Gary Martin lives across the street from the old Stimson mill site, and the 42 empty houses once occupied by mill workers next door.

"I've been in construction for 25 years, and I just see the potential,” said Martin. “It's just a shame to see them sitting there like they are,” said Martin. "You can tell at one time, that this was kind of a boom town, and it revolved around that mill. Now you've got boarded up houses cause there's nothing going on."

On Monday, work at the site will begin again. 35 workers hired by ALCOM, a manufacturing company from Maine, will start producing aluminum trailers at a 70,000 square foot building on the old mill site the company’s leasing from the property owners.

Mike Boehme, co-owner of Bonner Property Development LLC, the company that bought the Stimson site in 2011, said the 35 jobs are only the beginning.

"Long term expectations are 200 jobs, so we're excited for the community, we're excited for Bonner, and we're just very pleased that this is all coming together," said Boehme.

Boehme said Bonner Property Development LLC also owns the empty homes next to the old mill, and hopes one day workers employed at the site will live in the homes again.

"It's a very unique community, because those 42 homes were built by the Anaconda Company, and they were built for the workers. We hope a lot of that will transition forward," said Boehme.

Congressman Steve Daines toured the facility Friday.

“I've travelled all 56 counties,” said Daines. “They say we need good, high paying jobs. Here is a great example of that, right here in Bonner."