Economic impact of B-21 Raider training unit will be huge according to mayors

Mayor Steve Allender presents the 2018 Rapid City Progress Report at a press conference Thursday afternoon. Photo Date: Jan. 31, 2019.

BOX ELDER, S.D. — Both the mayors of Rapid City and Box Elder say the economic impact of Ellsworth becoming home to the B-21 Raider training unit will be huge for South Dakota.

On Wednesday it was announced that Ellsworth will be one of three bases to host the B-21 aircraft, and that it will also be receiving the B-21 training and operational squadron.

Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas will also be receiving B-21 Raiders as they become available.

“These three bomber bases are well suited for the B-21,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson. “We expect the first B-21 Raider to be delivered beginning in the mid-2020s, with subsequent deliveries phased across all three bases.”

According to Box Elder Mayor Larry Larson, “This is huge for Box Elder, western South Dakota and the state.”

“Today’s announcement is one of the most significant and important announcements of the past decade,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. “This will enhance national security. This will bring jobs to the Black Hills. This will stimulate our economy tremendously for years to come.”

Ellsworth Air Force Base currently has a $359 million dollar impact on the Black Hills region, bringing in nearly one million dollars a day.

With the news comes questions about how the region’s schools, hospitals and housing industry will deal with the changes. Tune into NewsCenter1 at 5:30 p.m. to hear more on these issues, as well as the reaction from Ellsworth Air Force Base and live correspondence from Megan Murat, who is reporting on the announcement today from Washington D.C.

The Air Force will make its final B-21 basing decision following compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory and planning processes. That decision is expected in 2021 and is part of the overall Air Force Strategic Basing Process.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News