Exide’s exit from the city of Frisco was formalized last night quickly and without dissent. That’s a stark contrast to the three-year, citizen-led campaign to push the lead battery manufacturer out of the community.
Monday night, Frisco city council members, local residents, and the company itself agreed: it’s time for Exide to go.
Dangerous levels of lead around the plant put Exide at odds with the city and local residents years ago.
Under a deal struck with the city, Exide will shut down operations at the end of this year.
Local residents, like Colette McCadden, are happy with the decision but say the fight is not over.
“This is a huge step forward in the mission, it is by no means in my mind, a mission accomplished. There’s still an enormous amount of contamination on site, and when that is totally remediated, then I will say it is mission accomplished.”
Frisco city leaders rejected the company’s attempts to try and reduce lead emissions. Talks got so strained between the two sides that a long drawn out court battle seemed likely.
But instead they struck a compromise. For 45-million dollars, the city of Frisco will buy about two-thirds of the land Exide sits on. That’s 180 acres of prime real estate near the Dallas North Tollway. In exchange, Exide shuts down.
Frisco city councilman Jeff Cheney said the decision was a bold but difficult step.
“You know, when you’re an elected official over a three-year period of a term, you’ll make thousands of decisions, many of which are gently guiding the ship. Very rarely do you get an opportunity to grab the wheel and steer the future of the city, and I feel this decision is certainly one of those.”
The city of Frisco estimates it’ll take 800-thousand dollars to clean up the land its buying. Exide, meanwhile, is responsible for cleaning up the rest of the property.
Residents who helped bring the to lead emissions to light hope the city council will appoint a task force that includes citizens to oversee the environmental cleanup.