South Dakota leaders welcome B-21 Raider to South Dakota
RAPID CITY, S.D. — On Friday NewsCenter1 brought live coverage of the official welcoming ceremony of the B-21 Raider to Ellsworth Air Force Base.
The ceremony is happening at the Alex Johnson Hotel in downtown Rapid City and many of South Dakota’s most prominent leaders are attending — including Gov. Kristi Noem, Sen. John Thune, Sen. Mike Rounds, Rep. Dusty Johnson, Mayor Steve Allender and Mayor Larry Larson.
In March it was announced that Ellsworth Air Force Base will be the first home of the B-21 Raider, as well as a formal training and operation squadron.
According to Mayor Steve Allender, the news is “one of the most significant and important announcements in the past decade.”
“This will enhance national security. This will bring jobs to the Black Hills. This will stimulate our economy tremendously for years to come,” said Allender.
Ellsworth Air Force Base currently has a $359 million dollar impact on the Black Hills region, bringing in nearly one million dollars a day. The B-21 training mission is expected to create hundreds of new jobs at Ellsworth and bring thousands of people to the area.
The announcement has raised questions about how the influx of people will affect the area’s housing market, schools, infrastructure and more.
The welcoming ceremony includes opening statements from state leaders, including Gov. Noem, and a Q&A discussion of the impact the B-21 training mission and fleet will have on the Black Hills and South Dakota.