Box Elder’s Liberty Center takes step forward, city infrastructure improvements take step back
BOX ELDER, S.D. – Box Elder is a step closer to seeing funding for the Liberty Center Wellness Facility and will take another once signed by Gov. Kristi Noem.
The $3.2 million from the state to aid in funding the wellness center passed after first being denied by lawmakers. A push for funding for infrastructure improvements in Box Elder was not as successful.
The City of Box Elder sought $5.8 million in funding for sewer infrastructure and capacity improvements needed to support the B-21 bomber mission. Now, they must look elsewhere for the funding.
“Box Elder is going to initially explore some other avenues,” said Scott Landguth, executive director of the Ellsworth Development Authority. “There is funding through, if it’s water and sewage issues, the Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies. I think that was the general feeling of the state legislature was to direct them back to the agencies where there is that funding now.”
According to the final B-21 Environmental Impact Statement, a net increase of about 3,000 uniformed services members is likely, plus their families.
Ellsworth Air Force Base is the preferred base to house the first operational and training squadrons for the B-21. The EIS affirming Wednesday that Ellsworth AFB is the opportune base in the decision.
Senator Mike Rounds says the bomber is a key piece in advancing and expanding the military.
“We have to continue with our modernization of our nuclear modernization program, including the B-21, the ground-based strategic initiative, which is the replacement for the minuteman missiles, and nuclear submarines,:” said Rounds. “We’re moving in that direction along with our nuclear command and control modernization. This is part of that.”
Rounds adds that the B-21 continues to be on time and on budget.