St. Marys Cement Company of Charlevoix will soon inform the community on the status of its $130-million renovation plan.
The public is invited to an informational open house concerning this major project at 5 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 15.
“It’s really just about updating and explaining the operation … to increase capacity,” said St. Marys Cement Company Spokesman Chris Mason by phone from his Chicago, Illinois, office on Thursday Dec. 3. “Because the work requires certain permits that are part of the public record, we felt it was the right thing to do to get people informed about the bigger picture and give people a forum to share any thoughts they have, and educate them on what we’re doing.”
What St. Marys Cement Company officials are calling a “modernization project” is expected to allow the plant to produce nearly two million tons of cement annually, once completed.
Mason said topics for the open house will include an overview of the project, information on the proposed process and timeline for the plan, discussion about the expected environmental impact, and the next steps in the project, in addition to a look at the plant’s product and customers.
“We really want to provide a forum for anyone interested in learning more about the plant to stay engaged and learn about our plans to modernize it,” Mason said.
“This is kind of a proactive attempt to maintain our strong relationship with the community and our standing as part of the business community.”
The $130 million investment into the local cement manufacturer has been projected to yield between 200 and 300 temporary full-time employees to do the actual construction.
Once the plant upgrades are finished, St. Marys officials expect as many as 10 new permanent full-time jobs could be created.
St. Marys’ parent company Votorantim Cement North America is looking to make the investment in order to significantly increase its Great Lakes region cement production.
While St. Marys currently produces nearly 1.3 million tons of cement annually, the plan should begin producing nearly 700,000 additional tons once the expansion project is complete.
The modernization and expansion of production is necessary, officials have said, because the market for cement has strengthened after a nearly six-year lull.
Earlier this year, St. Marys officials said tentatively the project could be built and commissioned by late-spring or early summer of 2017.
The meeting, scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Charlevoix Public Library Community Room B, located at 220 West Clinton St. in Charlevoix, will feature a brief overview presentation scheduled for 5:15 p.m. followed by a public comment period.
Everyone, including local business owners and community members, is invited.
Light refreshments will be provided at the open house.