Monday, May 2, 2016

Mayor Will Hill Receives 2016 Phoenix Award

William Hill, Mayor of Louisville, Mississippi, was presented the 2016 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet at an awards ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington on Sunday evening, May 1. Also shown on stage for the presentation James Rivera, Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

The tornado that hit Louisville on April 28, 2014 ripped a path of destruction that was half a mile wide, and 32 miles long. More than 200 homes and businesses were destroyed or heavily damaged, and 10 people were killed.

Mayor William Hill and the residents of Louisville were looking forward to the creation of 200 new jobs after the city signed a contract with Winston Plywood and Veneer, a manufacturer of specialty plywood products, who would take over a former Georgia Pacific plant. The tornado destroyed the plant, creating another economic blow to the city of 6,600.

After overseeing the search and rescue efforts with local first responders and coordinating the initial recovery, Mayor Hill shifted his focus to Louisville’s long-term economic recovery. He reached out to the parties involved in the Winston Plywood and Veneer deal, which included investors, state and federal officials, to encourage the company to renew their commitment to build the plant in Louisville.

On January 30, 2015, Mayor Hill welcomed Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and officials from Winston Plywood and Veneer for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a new, state-of-the-art plywood mill. The project represents an investment of $50 million and will create 400 new jobs in Louisville.