By JIM BUTLER
The saga that began unfolding around Beaver Lake more than 50 years ago continues.
Among a chain of small lakes (Cedar, Williams, Tanyard, Gin, Hog) cascading along Red River south of Pineville, Beaver sprang into the public eye when it became ground zero, of sorts, for a massive project that trundled water through a huge pipeline from wells west of Alexandria to the spanking new Pineville Kraft mill.
The multi-multi-million dollar project was packaged and touted by Kisatchie Delta Regional Planning & Development District Director Champ Baker and shepherded on Capitol Hill by Congressman Gillis Long.
With the mill came a couple of hundred permanent on-site jobs and immeasurable rippling across the area economy over the decades.
But the squeeze of a changing economy and market demand led to closing of the container board plant, by then owned by International Paper, in 2009.
Among things left behind – solid waste and surface impoundment sites requiring DEQ oversight.
Now DEQ advises it is reviewing an application to renew Revolution Aluminum Propco’s surface impoundment/landfill permit for the Beaver Lake Industrial Park.
The application also proposes consolidating four operating permits into one closure permit.
When last heard from, the 1,390 acres comprising the industrial park had been purchased out of bankruptcy for $5 million by Thomas Tucker, a Pineville businessman.
That came after Roger Boggs hornswaggled creditors’ with visions of a $1 billion industry at the former mill site.
Boggs, who had been in federal custody three years, received five years supervised release last June.
He was arrested in 2019, apprehended in Mobile, Ala., more than a year after fleeing Rapides Parish.
Boggs first made his aluminum-made for-vehicles pitch in Mississippi but put Columbus in his rear view mirror in 2015 as too many questions began to surface.
What’s next for the site remains to be seen.