Frisco Citizens concerned about dangerous levels of lead found in the air, say they’re thrilled and relieved that the Exide lead battery plant in their community has decided to close.
Shiby Matthew believes high lead levels in the air may be affecting her children’s health.
“Now at least my kids can go out and play. I can let them out and not be worried about the air they’re breathing,” Matthew said.
Exide’s decision to close the plant follows months of citizen protests, government mandates for improvements at the plant and the city’s resistance to grant Exide building permits.
Exide agreed to shut down operations by the end of the year after the City of Frisco offered to pay $45 million for two-thirds of Exide’s property. That’s about 180 acres.
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso says other options that might have forced Exide to close involved lengthy litigation.
“We’re a representative democracy. And the more we went down that path, the more comments we received from a broad cross-section of our community that this wasn’t really compatible with who we are,” Maso said.
“This wasn’t a compatible use being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, one of the fastest growing school districts in the country.” he said.
Frisco plans to pay for the land with sales tax money collected by the city’s two development corporations. A portion of the land near the Dallas North Tollway may be used for warehouses or development, another portion may be used for parks or a fire training center.
Exide will still retain 90 acres and will be responsible for cleaning up contamination there.
Exide has notified its 134 employees that their jobs will end beginning in October.