A battery recycling plant in Frisco has reached a tentative $45 million deal with the city that could settle years of disputes over pollution and ground contamination.
Exide Technologies Inc. and Frisco city officials argued for months over how to cut emissions under new federal regulations before Thursday's announcement.
Exide spokeswoman Susan Jaramillo said the company was willing to fight the city, but considered Frisco's monetary offer fair. Citizen groups have been targeting the plant for closure.
"It was an opportunity to resolve all of our issues and create a return for our citizens," said Mayor Maher Maso, who noted that it seemed earlier this year that the two parties would head into litigation.
Under the tentative agreement, the Frisco Community Development Corporation and the Frisco Economic Development Commission Corp. would buy 180 acres of buffer land around the plant for $45 million.
"This is a prime piece of property in the heart of our community," Maso said.
City leaders said the land eventually would be developed, perhaps into corporate headquarters near the Dallas North Tollway.
Exide would still own the plant site and maintain it according to federal and state regulations.
The facility would cease operations by Dec. 31, resulting in 134 layoffs for a company that was the city's largest employer before explosive growth in the past decade.
The company said Frisco operations will be absorbed by four other plants nationwide.
Maso said he understands that some employees would be able to relocate to the company's other sites and has asked for state assistance to help workers who become unemployed.
Some people said it seems that the development and progress is coming with a price.
"They're going to develop it and make a ton of money off the back end, but these people are going to get jobs doing what?" said Paul Ford, of Lewisville.
In a statement released by the city and Exide, the company's CEO and president, Jim Bolch, said the agreement makes the most sense for both parties.
"I want to thank our loyal and hardworking employees who have continued to remain dedicated to Exide and the valuable service we provided throughout the years," he said. "As we work through this process, we will provide our employees with all the necessary support and career guidance."
The agreement between the city and Exide must still be approved by its participating partners.