National Cement moves forward on plans for nature preserve

National Cement moves forward on plans for nature preserve
Published: 30 October 2007

Final plans will be unveiled next month for a 147-acre nature preserve donated by National Cement Co of Alabama.

The cement company announced last year its plan to create the preserve, Blue Springs Nature Preserve, and the nonprofit that would run it. The park is near the company’s Ragland cement plant.

National Cement’s Chairman Spencer Weitman said in a recent park newsletter that its master plan will be unveiled Nov. 13 at the Ragland Community Center.

Plans for the Blue Springs Nature Preserve call for a tram to transport visitors into the preserve, an outdoor arboretum, a visitor center, a cultural preservation building, education center, walking trails and campgrounds.

Future plans call for a dormitory, kitchen facilities and a conference center, said the newsletter.

Huntsville’s 4Site Inc. finalized the master plan and found the area to be in the flightpath of migrating Monarch butterflies.

It was reported last year that National Cement would donate the land and commit $250,000 in seed money toward the preserve, with additional money raised through public and private sources.

A steering committee of more than 20 people, headed by Weitman and made up of mostly state, county and local officials, will oversee the project.

National Cement has more than 1,255 employees in Alabama and California. It is a subsidiary of Vicat Group, a French company that produces cement, concrete and aggregates.