The city wants the yards removed to make way for redevelopment beside the river, where Dallas is planning parks, lakes and a new toll parkway.
The Dallas City Council Trinity River Committee heard options Tuesday that ranged from a taxpayer-funded buyout of the recycling businesses to simply shutting them down.
"It's not right to take somebody's business without reimbursing them," Councilman Mitchell Rasansky said. "That's what they're talking about."
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Council members are also considering a "recycling sanctuary" where several companies could be grouped together at a new location.
But Councilwoman Pauline Medrano said the option raises many questions about ownership, financing and location.
"We've got to answer questions as to where we put these metal recyclers," she said. "Do they stay there and do they do some cosmetic-type things so developers come in?"
Marcus Wood, a commercial Realtor who has sold several properties near the river, said investors are counting on the city to get rid of the scrap yards, one way or another.
"We may not have the desired redevelopment that the city is spending a fortune on and that people are buying property for," he said.
Kenny Goldberg, of Gold Metals on South Lamar Street, said he's willing to talk with the city about options, but he would prefer not to move.
"We'll do whatever is in our best interest in coordination with the city," Goldberg said. "We understand what the city is trying to do, make it a better place for people to live."
But other recyclers said they are opposed to any changes.
Dave Neumann, chair of the City Council Trinity River Committee, said more work must be done to reach a final decision.
"We started the discussion today," he said. "We did not finish the discussion."