City settles long-lingering lawsuit with Titan Tire for $725,000

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, November 16, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The city has settled a lawsuit it filed against Titan Tire Corp. in 2017.

It will get $725,000, which Mayor Dan Gibson said will be parked as surplus money until the Board of Aldermen decide how to spend it.

The city sued Titan Tire after it allegedly polluted what was originally built as Armstrong Tire and Rubber Co. in 1939 on Kelly Avenue. Titan Tire leased the facility from the city, and the city claimed in the suit the company failed to pay the rent it owed.

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At Tuesday’s meeting on the advice of city attorney Bryan Callaway, the mayor and board of aldermen went into closed session to discuss the lawsuit. After the closed session, Callaway said the city had agreed to the settlement to resolve the litigation.

Gibson and officials at Natchez Inc. have been working with investors who want to buy the property and use it to develop adaptagens and neutraceuticals from food.

However, residents in the area of the former plant have expressed concern that any development of the plant would be hazardous to the environment.

Environmental experts said building contains asbestos, but it is only hazardous if exposed. Any disturbance of that asbestos would be required to happen within strict environmental guidelines.

Also, one portion of the facility, which is not within the area that would be sold by the facility if the deal goes through, has surface groundwater contamination. That contamination does not reach any area where drinking water is contained, experts have said.