City and Exide make a deal: Frisco lead plant closing

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Thursday, May 31 at 6:14 PM

FRISCO -- The Exide battery plant in Frisco is shutting down.

A $45 million deal will help end neighbors' concerns over lead emissions. It will also give the city more land to develop in any way it wants.

If all goes as planned, Exide will stop recycling lead batteries by December. After that, the smoke stacks and buildings that have been here since the 1960’s will all come down.
  
Frisco city leaders secretly met with Exide executives over the last three months, trying reach a deal that would avoid a lengthy legal battle used by cities to force unwanted businesses out of town.

"The company knew this and we knew this,” said Frisco mayor Maher Maso. “There was no certainty in that process, and I think they saw that and we saw that, a long drawn out process, an expensive process."
    
Frisco's economic and community development corporations will buy Exide's land along the Dallas North Tollway and surrounding the plant. They will try to attract corporate re-locations.

"We felt that we did have rights to continue to operate here,” said Bruce Cole, Exide Executive Vice President. “I think what it really came down to was the city coming forward and wanting to have some settlement discussions and coming up with an offer for the business to cease operating that the company felt was a fair business offer."
    
Opposition to Exide's planned expansion grew when the Environmental Protection Agency designated a mile wide area around the plant as above federal limits for lead emissions.

 "You can't put a price tag on lead emissions in this community,” said Frisco homeowner Linda James. “And I'm sure the city paid the price for it. But they will also make sure that Exide cleans it up to their standards."
    
135 Exide employees will lose their jobs. The company will try to relocate some of them. City leaders say they'll do everything possible to find them new work.

“I think it's a definite win for all the parents and little children who live here," said Kendall Meade, a Frisco homeowner.   

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

Exide Technologies and City of Frisco Reach Tentative Agreement 5-31-12

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