Imerys Carbonates, in partnership with the city, constructed the fenced observation deck overlooking an inactive quarry and plant operations at its location on Fayetteville Road.
Mayor Sam Wright thanked Imerys for its partnership and said the overlook allows citizens and visitors a great look into Sylacauga’s marble industry.
“This truly is a great day for Sylacauga,” Wright said.
“We had marble here over 100 years ago, and we kind of let it slide by, but when we started the Marble Festival four years ago, it gave us a new push. We really want to continue to do that, but it takes the partnership of not just Imerys, but all the quarries here.”
Imerys North American Director of Operations Todd Swanger said their company is proud to be part of this project, which has been in the works for about three years.
“I’ve been overlooking the quarry for 14 years myself, and it’s nice to see it open for others to enjoy what I’ve been taking for granted some,” Swanger said.
He said the observation point is an effort to show Imerys’ continued commitment to improving the communities it operates in.
“We have over 240 operations worldwide, and in all of those operations there is a dedication to sustainable development,” Swanger said. “With that comes involvement in the communities, improving the environment around us and reducing our carbon footprint on the world. This is an example of that, and we expect all of our operations to continue to improve in those areas every day.”
Imerys Operations manager Levente Hegedus also noted their focus on community involvement.
“When you look at the plant, you see a lot of buildings, equipment, walls, and you tend to think that this is the company,” Hegedus said. “That is a mistake. The company is made of the people. That means for us that we must be together with these people, and I’m very happy for this great idea from our mayor and happy our company recognized that with this action, we could be part of the social life of the town.”
Imerys Human Resource manager Mark Vincent credited Wright with the idea of the overlook, saying it was “his vision, his dream, his idea, and he made it happen.”
Vincent said the overlook allows people to once again see the quarry that so many grew up in and around.
“There is such an attachment to the quarries for anybody that lived or worked in Sylacauga or the town of Gantt’s Quarry,” Vincent said. “For years, they have not been able to see the area they used to swim and live in. We are very happy to have that history back for those people who have a continued interest.”
Vincent said a permanent fence should be installed to the overlook by next week. A gated entrance convenient to U.S. 280 and informational plaques lining the point complete the area.
Wright also said signs will be placed on the highway showing the point as a state tourism location.
The observation point is open during daytime hours.
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com.