Pictured standing on the first section after 18 yards of concrete had been poured are, from left: Paul Davis with the city’s public works department; Spencer Weitman, president of National Cement; Joe Roberson of Kirkpatrick Concrete, National Cement Plant Manager Jean Claude Brocheton, Human Resources Manager Chris Haynes and Mayor Lanis White.

The Town of Ragland’s 1,500 feet of sidewalk are being revamped thanks to a donation from National Cement.

The company agreed to donate all needed cement to replace all existing sidewalks, many of which were damaged as tree roots burst from under the ground as trees were toppled on April 27.

“It’s going to make so much of a difference,” said Mayor Lanis White. “It’s actually going to be handicapped accessible because of what the state has done with their highway crew.”

White said that over the years the company has been in Ragland, sometimes National Cement might have gotten bad publicity within the community. “But it’s been a whole new experience for me. What I’m seeing is good,” he added that with the tough economy, his and the town’s thanks are that much more heartfelt.

“We’ve been here 100 years and Ragland’s been here 100 years,” Spencer Weitman, President of National Cement said. “Over the years we’ve had good relationships and bad relationships but we try to take part in the community. We know a lot of people who live here work at our plant and we’ve tried to be good neighbors and good corporate citizens.”

He said the company has offered different things at different times to the community. This need that the town’s leaders presented to the company was a partial outcropping from the Blue Springs Preserve project, a nature park that has been on hold over the past three years as the economy has slowed.

“It’s going to make the town look a whole lot better,” said Paul Davis, with Ragland public works.

Plant manager Jean Claude Brocheton said of the project, “It’s a real pleasure for me to be a part of the community and have everybody here. We’re making good cement and we want that cement to be a kind of show room for us, too. We’re glad to help the City of Ragland by doing that. I know the city had been hit pretty hard after the storm, too and the sidewalks were damaged by that and the timing is good, too. It’s vital.”

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