Towns of Hermosa, Wasta brace for possible growth from Ellsworth Air Force Base expansion

Towns like Wasta and Hermosa are just a few communities that could see future growth from the B-21 Raider.

BLACK HILLS, S.D. — Many things are coming with B-21 Raider.

Thousands of military personnel and their families will come to Ellsworth Air Force Base, Box Elder, Rapid City and surrounding communities. Communities like Hermosa that are already seeing consistent growth with new developments in the pipeline.

“Before these developments have been happening, we’ve been seeing, I suppose, ten families a year coming in, and I think now you see that double each year, if not more,” said Dan Holsworth, the Hermosa Board President.

Despite dipping slightly this year, the town’s school has seen a consistent average growth of five percent.

A new addition to the school is set to double its size and capacity for more students.

“We started there in 2014 with 180 students and we’ve been as high as 235 there, so we’ve we’ve definitely grown, and we expect that growth to continue,” said Mark Naugle, the Superintendent of Custer School District.

In other communities up the road, like Wasta, calls have been coming in and the town has seen some new houses going up.

But growth will have difficulty due to lack of inventory.

“There’s been interests in people wanting to rent property and buy property but there isn’t a lot of property that’s available,” said Norman Current, the Wasta Board President.

Now, as both areas could see their towns continue to grow, their infrastructure comes into question and what it can support.

Hermosa officials say they have two wells, water lines were replaced recently and the sewer system remains in good condition. Future development of their infrastructure is forthcoming.

“We’re going to be going  into the state this year and applying for in our lagoon system, where we’re going to add another cell and then we want to possibly add another well or production about well to increase the production of our well,” Holsworth said.

Wasta has wiggle room, but not much.

“Our infrastructure is supporting what we have now,” Current said. “You know we have capacity for sewer and things like that. Maybe a little bit more water.”

Small communities looking ahead to developing their infrastructure to meet their future needs.

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