Milestones and Achievement History 1995 - Current

1996 - State of South Dakota Passes Legislation to Protect Military Airports

2003 - Exit 66 Closed and Exit 67 Opens
Exit 66 was located in the center of Accident Potential Zone 1 and the closing of it and construction of a new Exit 67 eliminated and prevented incompatible land uses around Ellsworth Air Force Base.

2008 - Ellsworth Air Force Base (EAFB) adopts AICUZ Study Guidelines
The Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Study was completed by the FAA and the Air Force which identified incompatible uses around EAFB.  This provided guidelines as to what issues existed in the communities surrounding the base.

2008 - Pennington County Adopts AICUZ study into their comprehensive plan
Pennington County becomes the first local jurisdiction to incorporate AICUZ Guidelines into its planning and zoning ordinances.

2009 – South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority (SDEDA) Created
Spearheaded by then Lt. Governor Dennis Daaugard the South Dakota Legislature passes legislation creating SDEDA.  The legislation defines SDEDA’s mission as promoting and protecting the economic impact of EAFB, and working with State, Federal, and Local Government to protect the health and safety of those living near or around EAFB.  A board of seven members from across the State is appointed by the Governor to oversee the Authority.  The legislation defines EAFB as “an area of critical state concern”.

2009 - Ellsworth signs Waste Water agreement with SDEDA
EAFB signs a Memorandum of Understanding with SDEDA that initiates the process of SDEDA constructing a Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant that will serve both EAFB and the City of Box Elder.  Both, EAFB and the City, are dealing with compliance issues at their existing Wastewater facilities.

2010 - Willing Buyer / Willing Seller Initiative begins
SDEDA announces that it is a willing buyer for incompatible properties around EAFB and begins exploring funding options for purchases.

2010 – SDEDA Purchases Freedom Estate Land and affordable housing project is started
SDEDA utilizes a South Dakota Housing grant to purchase 233 acres of property outside of the incompatible areas in Box Elder.  In addition, SDEDA utilizes this grant to construct 12 affordable homes.  The development provides replacement housing opportunities for those who may need to relocate from the incompatible areas around EAFB.

2011 - Skyway and Renal Heights property is transferred from EAFB to SDEDA
EAFB transfers land (173 acres) that is deemed to be excess property to SDEDA.  SDEDA accepts this land with the goal of increasing the property tax base of Box Elder or assisting other governmental entities while reducing maintenance costs of EAFB. 

2011 - SDEDA transfers a portion of Skyway property to Douglas School 
The Douglas School District had a need of property for construction of a new elementary school building.  SDEDA donated land it was given by EAFB to the School District.  The new elementary school is slated to open at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

2012 - Renal Heights property becomes a South Dakota Certified Ready Site and rename Ellsworth Business Park

2012 - SDEDA Awarded Defense Community of the Year
The Association of Defense Communities recognizes SDEDA as the Defense Community of the Year for its unique approach to partnering and working with EAFB.  Gov. Daaugard accepts the award at the Association’s annual meeting.

2012 - SDEDA buys its first incompatible property
SDEDA using State funding purchases its first property in Accident Potential Zone 1 (APZ 1). This property was a residential home and daycare operation.

2012 - SDEDA Funds and Manages the Creation of the Close Air Support Training Site
In a unique partnership, SDEDA along with EAFB and the South Dakota National Guard fund and construct a Close Air Support (CAS) Training site in the existing Powder River Training Airspace.  This site allows B-1 Bombers from EAFB to train closer to home with an estimated savings in fuel and time in the millions of dollars.  The site was funded by SDEDA, constructed by the National Guard, and designed by EAFB.

2013 - SDEDA Receives Federal Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) funding
SDEDA applies for and receives REPI funding that is to be used to purchase incompatible properties.  This funding is matched on a 3:1 federal to state ratio.  Buying of incompatible properties from willing sellers continues.

2014 - SDEDA Receives Additional REPI funding
SDEDA receives an additional REPI funds which again is matched by the State.

2014 - Box Elder Adopts AICUZ zoning overlay for their entire jurisdiction
The City of Box Elder adopts zoning rules which will prevent any new incompatible land uses from occurring within its jurisdiction.

2014 – SDEDA Completes Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
SDEDA completes construction of a nearly $24 million project to construct a new Class III Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant and a new sewer interceptor line which serves the City of Box Elder and EAFB.  This construction of one regional plant versus two separate plants saves the City and EAFB considerable money both in construction dollars and in on-going operation costs.  The plant was funded through the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources and is owned and operated by SDEDA.  Compliance and capacity issues for both the City and EAFB are addressed for the next 20-years.

2015 - SDEDA Receives Additional REPI funding
SDEDA receives additional REPI funds which again is matched by the State.

2015 - Powder River Training Complex Receives Final Approval
After nearly a decade, and tireless efforts by our Congressional Delegation, the Governor’s Office, and SDEDA the Powder River Training Complex Expansion receives final approval from the Air Force and the FAA.  The new expanding training airspace is now the largest airspace in the lower 48 states (35,000 square miles) and will allow aircraft to remain closer to their home bases resulting in millions of dollars in savings to the Air Force.

2015 - SDEDA Receives Federal OEA Funding and Begins the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS)
SDEDA acting at the request of EAFB coordinates the beginning of a new Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for EAFB.  This study involves a coordinated effort involving EAFB, Pennington County, Meade County, the City of Rapid City, the City of Box Elder, and SDEDA.  The results of this Study will help shape planning efforts for the base and surrounding communities for decades to come.

​2016 - Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) Completed

2016 - SDEDA Receives Additional REPI funding
SDEDA receives additional REPI funds which again is matched by the State.

2016 - SDEDA Controls 60 properties totaling over 3300 Acres

These acres are now protected from incompatible uses.​​

2017 - SDEDA Receives Additional REPI funding
SDEDA receives additional REPI funds which again is matched by the State.

2018 - Scott Landguth, Executive Director of the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority, was one of 13 people nationwide selected for the Air Force Civic Leader program.

2018 - South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority partners with Elevate Rapid City to Invest - Empower - Improve - Ellsworth / Rapid City / Box Elder. 

2018 - SDEDA completes 3 major compatible land use purchases

2019 - Air Force announces Ellsworth AFB as first B-21 base

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Regional Wastewater Plant

Additional Information

The South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority formally dedicated the completion of a $23 million regional waste water plant on SEPTEMBER 11, 2014. The new facility will serve the city of Box Elder and the Ellsworth Air Force Base. Both Ellsworth and the city of Box Elder faced regulatory issues with their old facilities. The new facility will not only eliminate the regulatory issues, it will also save money for the base and Box Elder because they can share the operating costs. "The new waste water plant is designed to sustain growth over the next 20 years," said Governor Daugaard in a news release. "The ingenuity and foresight of the leadership at the Ellsworth Air Force Base, the city of Box Elder, and the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority were instrumental in making this new plant a reality." 

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Urban Close Air Support Site

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. | The vision of building a realistic training site for aircrews and ground controllers has become a reality after base Airmen teamed up with area soldiers and agencies to complete construction at a location near Belle Fourche, S.D. Ellsworth partnered with the South Dakota National Guard, South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority and a handful of other agencies to plan and construct the urban close air support site, with a large portion of the work accomplished June 9 to 20 as part of Golden Coyote activities. "We developed this site because it will provide a valuable service to both of our branches and it will save us money," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Craig Johnson, SDNG assistant adjutant general and commander of the troops. "It will also provide Airmen and Soldiers the training they need to prepare for real world contingencies." Lt. Col. Brian Farmer, 28th Operations Support Squadron commander who has flown the B-1 bomber since May 2003, said the UCAS will provide a realistic playing field where Ellsworth B-1 aircrews and ground controllers can hone the skills used routinely in areas like Afghanistan - training that is crucial to the readiness and proficiency of base Airmen. "This training will enhance the capabilities of B-1 aircrews and ground units as they fine-tune their close air support skills in kinetic strike and nontraditional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance platforms," said Farmer, who has flown more than 100 B-1 combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. "The bottom line is it will help us train the way we fight." The possibility of building the UCAS site became a reality Oct. 30, 2012, when SDEDA gifted 19 sea- land containers to Ellsworth to help construct the mock village. The containers, brought from North Dakota by a SDNG unit, were worth $51,600, and required approval from the Secretary of the Air Force prior to acceptance. They were then carried to the site by a Pennsylvania National Guard unit as part of their training during the 29th annual Golden Coyote exercise. "This project is just another example of the partnership between the State of South Dakota and the Air Force working together to make South Dakota a great place for the Air Force to conduct its mission," said Scott Landguth, SDEDA executive director. "This cooperation among all parties - the Air Force, South Dakota National Guard and SDEDA - created an environment where this project could be completed in a timely and economical manner." Landguth added that SDEDA will continue to partner with the Air Force whenever possible to help provide creative and economic solutions for their issues. U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Sadler, 842nd Engineer Company unit commander, said the support and coordination between agencies helped to jump start the project. "This will be such a great site to train on," Sadler said. Farmer echoed the sentiment, adding that having a site like this in the base's "backyard" will net more rewards than just realistic scenarios. "One of the overwhelming benefits of the site is that it is only a 15-minute flight from Ellsworth," Farmer said. "Having a training area this close saves countless dollars in reduced fuel and maintenance costs, and further enhances the training opportunities in the Powder River Training Complex airspace." He noted that B-1 aircrews typically fly from one to two hours to reach a suitable UCAS site in other parts of the country. The new site cuts down the amount of ground B-1 aircrews have to cover to travel to a training site, and allows for more flexibility when planning missions. "It truly is a big win for everyone involved," Farmer said. 

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