- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Titan Tire Corp. officials may vacate their local plant, which they still lease from the City of Natchez.

The plant has not been in service since 2001. The three-story factory was once one of the biggest industries in Natchez.

“The ideal outcome would be for the city to sell it at a handsome price, and do so quickly,” Mayor Butch Brown told The Natchez Democrat (https://bit.ly/1faCUCr).

“The longer we hold on to it, and keep it in inventory, the more it is going to cost us,” he said. “There is nothing out there that we want, so I would love to have that property as a surplus.”

Brown said he has talked with officials from Quincy, Illinois-based Titan Tire and they are interested in turning the factory over to the city.

Brown said Titan must first meet a list of requirements set by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality about ensuring that the building and the land it sits on is environmentally sound.

“Once that is done and they’ve removed all their equipment, I’m assuming we would immediately take possession of the property,” Brown said.

The factory has been under lease by several entities since 1938.

It started out as the Armstrong Tire Co. under the Balancing Agriculture with Industry Program, a long-term lease program that allowed the city to take out a bond to purchase the property in order to encourage industrial growth.

In 1986, when Armstrong closed its Natchez plant, some of the management of Armstrong formed the Condere Corp. and bought the plant out, renaming it Fidelity Tire.

After Condere went bankrupt in 1998, Titan Tire purchased the plant.

Kenneth Young, an engineer for Natchez Titan Tire who now oversees security at the plant, said while the factory was operational, the main products were tires used for agriculture, construction, mining, military and recreation purposes.

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