Frisco City Council approved an agreement Oct. 6 to take over cleanup of the site. City staff estimated a total cost of $29 million to complete that cleanup. That process involves removing contaminated soil as well as pieces of broken battery casings and a waste material called slag. The landfills on the site will also be properly closed.
“This is a major milestone to finally gain control of the cleanup process,” Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said in a statement. “Now, we can finally begin fulfilling the dream of Grand Park, which couldn’t happen until [the issue of] Exide was resolved and cleaned up.”
City Manager George Purefoy said the addition of the Exide property brings the area planned to be used for Grand Park to around “600 contiguous acres located in the center of the city.” Purefoy said Grand Park will be Frisco’s version of Central Park in New York City.
“There’s a lot of work ahead, but the end result will be a treasured community asset,” Purefoy said in a statement. “This could not have been accomplished without our city council’s vision for the end goal along with the cooperation and support of the executive, legal and technical staff of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the exceptional work done by the Texas Attorney General’s team of lawyers.”
Frisco originally reached an agreement with Exide Technologies in 2012 to close the plant, which had too-high lead emissions. In exchange, the city agreed to purchase nearly 180 acres of undeveloped land that Exide used as a buffer from surrounding development. Exide was supposed to retain ownership of the plant property under that original agreement. Terms also called for Exide to clean up the land and Stewart Creek, which had been contaminated after decades of operations.
With council’s approval of the agreement Oct. 6, Frisco and the CDC agreed to pay $3.5 million to Aspen American Insurance Company, which held the $25 million bond posted by Exide for cleanup. In a news release, city staff said the $3.5 million will cover the costs to resolve any claims Aspen has on the property.
Aspen will pay the $25 million bond to the TCEQ, and that money will be deposited into a trust in the CDC’s name. That trust will be used to complete cleanup of the land, all of which now belongs to the city. Frisco plans to contribute the remaining $4 million into the same trust to cover the total estimated cleanup costs.
To help pay for future maintenance and operations of the site, Frisco officials said the city plans to raise trash fees $1 per cart per month for residential customers and 2% for commercial customers.