Granholm Announces New Sawmill, Jobs in Iron County

Friday, February 1, 2008

MEDC assistance backs $10.9 million project

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced a $600,000 grant to Hematite Township in Iron County to extend a public water line for a new sawmill to be operated by Pine River Hardwood LLC. The project is expected to generate $9.8 million in capital investment and create 30 new jobs. The grant is being made available by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with funds provided by the federal Community Development Block Grant program. An MEDC official presented a ceremonial check to Hematite Township officials today.

“This new facility will be a magnet for future economic growth and new investment in Iron County,” Granholm said. “We are thrilled Pine River Hardwood has chosen Hematite Township as the site for this new facility which means new jobs for our Michigan workers.”

PineRiverHardwood LLC is a new company formed by the merger of Nicolet Hardwoods and Pine River Lumber, both in business since the 1800s.

“The CDBG program is a valuable resource for communities looking to facilitate business development and job growth,” MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. “I congratulate Hematite Township leaders on working together to help make this project a reality.”

HematiteTownshipwill contribute $240,000 to support the project and the Michigan Department of Transportation will provide $273,500 to assist with needed road and rail improvements. In addition, the U. S. Department of Agriculture provided a $200,000 low-interest loan to Hematite Township.

“Pine River Hardwoods has been met with open arms from the community and the local governments,” Pine River Hardwoods Project Engineer/Manager John Kantola said. “We couldn’t be happier with the cooperation we have received from Hematite Township and Iron County. Our objective on this project is to build one of the most technology advanced sawmills in the Great Lakes Region.”

The MEDC is able to award approximately $40 million in federal CDBG funds each year. There are 1,655 local governments within the state eligible to apply for these funds. Projects are approved contingent upon compliance with state and federal requirements.

“We applaud the commitment from Peter Connor, Richard “Dick” Krawze, and Pine River Hardwoods on this new state-of-the-art facility,” Hematite Township Supervisor Bruce Tusa said. “We welcome the new facility to our community. Not only will the existing jobs be retained, but 30 new jobs will be created.”

Iron County Economic Development Corporation (ICEDC) President James Gibula said, “We at the ICEDC are proud to have worked with Pine River Hardwoods and Hematite Township to create some thirty new jobs in Iron County. The economic impact of the new mill will be long felt and will serve to boost area timber production substantially.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.