Citizens meet to discuss opposition to quarry

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, May 14, 2009

About 300 people gathered at the Evangel Temple in Vincent Thursday night to express their opposition to White Rock Quarries’ proposed limestone quarry.

The Concerned Citizen Committee, a group of Vincent citizens dedicated to stopping the quarry project, called the meeting.

Jo Mudd, a member of the committee, shared some facts she had gleaned from speaking with Mayor Ray McAllister.

“In my discussion with the mayor, he told me we have some of the purest limestone around,” she said. “They believe it will be a 100-year rock quarry.”

Mudd said that according to probate records, the Vecellio Group, which owns White Rock Quarries, has spent between $10 and $11 million on more than 1,000 acres of land within Vincent. However, that land is zoned as agricultural, so the company will have to get the land rezoned. That’s where the citizens can come in, Mudd said.

“The buck stops at Town Hall. Let your voice be heard,” she said. “If we don’t act like we care, how can our leaders think we do?”

She urged the crowd to work hard to let council members know the quarry faces opposition.

“Letting the Vecellio Group mine our resources is like letting a thief come to your house and steal all you have,” Mudd said.

Ex-Vincent Mayor Terry Allen, one of the first speakers of the night, got a big laugh with a simple statement: “Thank the good Lord I’m not mayor anymore.”

Allen went on to debunk what he termed “rumors about the past administration,” saying he wanted citizens of Vincent to understand that he had nothing to do with the proposed quarry, although Vecellio Group did purchase some land while he was in office. Allen was mayor directly before McAllister.

“There are no roots (of this project) in the past administration,” he said. “Nobody that I knew, knew what was going to be built there.”

After Allen spoke, current District 4 Councilmember Ralph Kimble made his feelings known on the quarry, saying he is staunchly opposed to the project.

“I’m not here representing the City Council,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave any doubt in anybody’s mind that I am opposed to the quarry.”

Alabama Rivers Alliance representative Elizabeth Salter spoke about her group’s devotion to the fight against quarries statewide, and how the group can help oppose the Vincent quarry.

“This year, we’ve worked with another conservation group, Conservation Alabama, to support a statewide quarry bill that will let the county commissions decide whether or not a rock quarry should locate within their county boundaries in a certain location,” she said. “I’m here to encourage you to stand up for what you want, and to weigh in and use your democratic rights to make things happen.”

Later in the meeting, real estate agent Judy Naugle spoke about the possible impact of the quarry on property values.

“I just want to pose some questions. I may answer some myself. Do I want to live near a quarry? No,” she said. “Have I ever seen a nice new residential development or a new shopping center near a quarry? No.”

Mudd said there would be another citizens’ meeting within weeks. The Vecellio Group will hold a meeting to present their proposal to the town on May 19 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at Vincent Elementary School.