Ellsworth Development Authority buys land to prepare for B-21 arrival

RAPID CITY, S.D, (KEVN) - To help ready Ellsworth Air Force Base and the Box Elder area for the arrival of the B-21, South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority Board of Directors is buying up land.

South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority Executive Director Scott Landguth discusses land use around the Ellsworth Air Force Base. (KEVN)

The Authority wants to eliminate "incompatiable" land use. "Incompatialbe land" is found in places where homes are near runways or in high noise areas.

The Executive Director Scott Landguth said they have bought more than 70 properties or about four thousand acres of land. They bought 3,000 acres located north of the base and another 1,070 acres south of the base.

Landguth said he anticipates construction funding to be in the 2020-2021 budget and they will have a better understanding of the cost by October of 2020.

The arrival of the B-21 is expected to bring thousands of new jobs for airmen, hundreds of new B-21 contractors and a major boost to the local economy.

"The growth that comes out of that whether it's restaurants, retail. Adding people to the work force. People that leave the military or the Air Force that decide to retire become our permanent neighbors and friends and that's a great thing the Air Force base does for the community," South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority Executive Director Scott Landguth said.

Air Force will complete a Final Environmental Impact Study on December 31st. The study will measure the environmental impact the B-21s will have on the area. However, Landguth says he does not anticipate any environmental issues.

The B-21 is expected to land on base by mid-2020s.