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(SD)-State Works Out Win-Win Deal For Jobs, Ellsworth AFB

By: John Axtell Posted at: 02/04/2018 10:39 AM
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The state of South Dakota has agreed to give a former Western Dakota Technical Institute to a Black Hills businessman in exchange for the demolition of 125 mobile homes he owns near Ellsworth Air Force Base. Governor Dennis Daugaard could sign the deal with Branden Bestgen as early as Monday.

        Bestgen's mobile homes are close to the southeast end of the base's main runway, which puts them at risk from crashes. Supporters say removing them would strengthen Ellsworth's position in future base closure reviews.

       In return, Bestgen would get the WDTI building, valued at $3.2-million dollars, which he tells the Rapid City Journal he plans to convert into a plant that produces individual modular housing units.

        The units, such as individual hotel rooms, would be shipped to building sites and stacked into larger structures. The plant is projected to employ at least 100 people.


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