More than 50 people showed up to the Gurley Town Hall meeting to voice their opposition to a rock quarry opening on Hurricane Creek, near the town. The meeting was actually moved from Town Hall to the First Baptist Church on Joplin Street to accommodate the crowd.
Vulcan Materials wants to open a rock quarry on the west side of Gurley Mountain and people in the community are staunchly opposed to the idea.
"A quarry that would be, that would come to being on the west side would just impair any positive development on the eastern side of Madison county," said Madison County resident Mary Louise Stowe. She was just one of the many who spoke up about the issue.
Years ago, Celia Dear actively worked to help keep another quarry from locating inside the city limits. That battle, which was successful, lasted almost a decade. The city successfully kept M&N Materials from locating on the East side of Gurley Mountain by annexing the property.
M&N Materials sued the city and won a $5 million dollar settlement, but a judge has stayed that judgment while an appeal is heard.
Now Dear has taken up this fight as well. She cites health and environmental risks as just two reasons the quarry should not open in Madison County.
"It is less than 2 miles from our schools: our Elementary and our High School. And, it does not have a positive growth aspect unless you're interested in industrial growth and asphalt plants and concrete," said Dear.
This new quarry would face the McMullen Cove and Hampton Cove communities on the other side of the mountain, but residents of Gurley say it will still affect them. Many residents argue that the dust would aggravate the asthma of many students at Madison County High School who have been diagnosed with the respiratory problem. Another issue is the potential damage to the Flint River.
Mayor Bob Sentell presented a resolution officially stating that the town is opposed to the quarry locating in Madison County. Sentell says he has been in contact with County Commissioner Eddie Sisk to see what, if anything, can be done. Sisk, who was not at the meeting, is reportedly consulting with the Chairman of the Madison County Commission Dale Strong.
All Councilmen voted to pass the Mayor's resolution. There were no representatives from Vulcan Materials present at the meeting.