South Dakota

Ellsworth Development Authority

South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority & State of South Dakota Milestones and Achievement History 1995 - Current


1996 - State of South Dakota Passes Legislation to Protect Military Airports


2003 - Exit 66 Closed and Exit 67 Opens
Exit 66 was located in the center of Accident Potential Zone 1 and the closing of it and construction of a new Exit 67 eliminated and prevented incompatible land uses around Ellsworth Air Force Base.


2008 - Ellsworth Air Force Base (EAFB) adopts AICUZ Study Guidelines
The Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Study was completed by the FAA and the Air Force which identified incompatible uses around EAFB.  This provided guidelines as to what issues existed in the communities surrounding the base.

2008 - Pennington County Adopts AICUZ study into their comprehensive plan
Pennington County becomes the first local jurisdiction to incorporate AICUZ Guidelines into its planning and zoning ordinances.

2009 – South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority (SDEDA) Created
Spearheaded by then Lt. Governor Dennis Daaugard the South Dakota Legislature passes legislation creating SDEDA.  The legislation defines SDEDA’s mission as promoting and protecting the economic impact of EAFB, and working with State, Federal, and Local Government to protect the health and safety of those living near or around EAFB.  A board of seven members from across the State is appointed by the Governor to oversee the Authority.  The legislation defines EAFB as “an area of critical state concern”.

2009 - Ellsworth signs Waste Water agreement with SDEDA
EAFB signs a Memorandum of Understanding with SDEDA that initiates the process of SDEDA constructing a Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant that will serve both EAFB and the City of Box Elder.  Both, EAFB and the City, are dealing with compliance issues at their existing Wastewater facilities. 

2010 - Willing Buyer / Willing Seller Initiative begins
SDEDA announces that it is a willing buyer for incompatible properties around EAFB and begins exploring funding options for purchases.

2010 – SDEDA Purchases Freedom Estate Land and affordable housing project is started
SDEDA utilizes a South Dakota Housing grant to purchase 233 acres of property outside of the incompatible areas in Box Elder.  In addition, SDEDA utilizes this grant to construct 12 affordable homes.  The development provides replacement housing opportunities for those who may need to relocate from the incompatible areas around EAFB.


2011 - Skyway and Renal Heights property is transferred from EAFB to SDEDA
EAFB transfers land (173 acres) that is deemed to be excess property to SDEDA.  SDEDA accepts this land with the goal of increasing the property tax base of Box Elder or assisting other governmental entities while reducing maintenance costs of EAFB. 

2011 - SDEDA transfers a portion of Skyway property to Douglas School 
The Douglas School District had a need of property for construction of a new elementary school building.  SDEDA donated land it was given by EAFB to the School District.  The new elementary school is slated to open at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

2012 - Renal Heights property becomes a South Dakota Certified Ready Site and rename Ellsworth Business Park


2012 - SDEDA Awarded Defense Community of the Year
The Association of Defense Communities recognizes SDEDA as the Defense Community of the Year for its unique approach to partnering and working with EAFB.  Gov. Daaugard accepts the award at the Association’s annual meeting.

2012 - SDEDA buys its first incompatible property
SDEDA using State funding purchases its first property in Accident Potential Zone 1 (APZ 1). This property was a residential home and daycare operation.

2012 - SDEDA Funds and Manages the Creation of the Close Air Support Training Site
In a unique partnership, SDEDA along with EAFB and the South Dakota National Guard fund and construct a Close Air Support (CAS) Training site in the existing Powder River Training Airspace.  This site allows B-1 Bombers from EAFB to train closer to home with an estimated savings in fuel and time in the millions of dollars.  The site was funded by SDEDA, constructed by the National Guard, and designed by EAFB.

2013 - SDEDA Receives Federal Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) funding
SDEDA applies for and receives REPI funding that is to be used to purchase incompatible properties.  This funding is matched on a 3:1 federal to state ratio.  Buying of incompatible properties from willing sellers continues.

2014 - SDEDA Receives Additional REPI funding
SDEDA receives an additional REPI funds which again is matched by the State.

2014 - Box Elder Adopts AICUZ zoning overlay for their entire jurisdiction
The City of Box Elder adopts zoning rules which will prevent any new incompatible land uses from occurring within its jurisdiction.

2014 – SDEDA Completes Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant 
SDEDA completes construction of a nearly $24 million project to construct a new Class III Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant and a new sewer interceptor line which serves the City of Box Elder and EAFB.  This construction of one regional plant versus two separate plants saves the City and EAFB considerable money both in construction dollars and in on-going operation costs.  The plant was funded through the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources and is owned and operated by SDEDA.  Compliance and capacity issues for both the City and EAFB are addressed for the next 20-years.

2015 - SDEDA Receives Additional REPI funding
SDEDA receives additional REPI funds which again is matched by the State.

2015 - Powder River Training Complex Receives Final Approval
After nearly a decade, and tireless efforts by our Congressional Delegation, the Governor’s Office, and SDEDA the Powder River Training Complex Expansion receives final approval from the Air Force and the FAA.  The new expanding training airspace is now the largest airspace in the lower 48 states (35,000 square miles) and will allow aircraft to remain closer to their home bases resulting in millions of dollars in savings to the Air Force.

2015 - SDEDA Receives Federal OEA Funding and Begins the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS)
SDEDA acting at the request of EAFB coordinates the beginning of a new Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for EAFB.  This study involves a coordinated effort involving EAFB, Pennington County, Meade County, the City of Rapid City, the City of Box Elder, and SDEDA.  The results of this Study will help shape planning efforts for the base and surrounding communities for decades to come.


​2016 - Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) Completed


2016 - SDEDA Receives Additional REPI funding
SDEDA receives additional REPI funds which again is matched by the State.


2016 - SDEDA Controls 60 properties totaling over 3300 Acres 

These acres are now protected from incompatible uses.​​