After years of planning and dreaming, the plans for the proposed Blue Springs Nature Preserve have been finalized into a realistic action plan.
The site is located near the conjunction of Trout Creek and Blues Springs Fork and includes pastures, wetlands and heavily wooded areas.
National Cement representative Spencer Weitman was on hand during Ragland’s city council meeting Monday to offer an update on the project’s status, which he said is moving along, despite an economic downturn.
“We’ve developed a master plan, we’ve developed a funding strategy including grants. We’re at the stage where we’re ready to go to the market and start asking,” Weitman said.
The main question, he said, regards the best time to start asking for investments. With economists estimating that the economic bounce-back from the recession won’t happen until possibly 2014, Weitman said, the timing of fundraising efforts is a crucial part of ensuring the project’s success.
“You don’t want to go out [fundraising] and be unsuccessful. The one way to kill a project is to go out and raise money and you don’t do it,” Weitman said. “I wouldn’t say we’ve been dragging our feet, but we haven’t been pushing it nearly as hard in the last year and a half as we have bee n in the last two years. “
When the economy bounces back, lists of potential grants and donors have been developed to get a running start on opening the 144 acre facility, which is scheduled to open with amenities like an outdoor classroom for children, two trails and restroom facilities, before being built upon as time goes on.