Optimism remains in wake of mill closure announcement - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Optimism remains in wake of mill closure announcement

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COURTLAND, AL (WAFF) -

The closing of the International Paper plant brings back memories of other major plant closings in northwest Alabama.

It's been nearly 30 years since Ford closed its doors in Colbert County.

Community leaders said the IP plant closing reminds them of what happened when Ford shut down in 1983.

But they say so many additional sources have been created since then -- they're optimistic about the future.

All that's left of the Ford plant in Muscle Shoals is an empty field.

Its closing left many in a dark time wondering what was next for the Shoals and what the future would hold.

Community leaders say they rallied back then and they will rally again to bring in more business and industry to the area.

Steve Pierce said he's hopeful organizations such as the Shoals Economic Development Authority and elected officials will ease the pains of those affected.

Community leaders agree the closing is tough on those directly affected and their families -- they also know there will be a trickle-down affect.

But they say there is good that comes with the bad and it's important to remain optimistic about the future.

"One of the things that's happening now is you have the leadership in place and we have a clout statewide," said Pierce. "The governor's already mentioned the fact that he'd love to help do what he could to save International Paper, so we do carry and have the influence to get others involved to help us bring things in."

Everyone agrees recovery from the closing will take time -- but they say brighter days are ahead.

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