The city of Belle Fourche will receive a $350,000 local infrastructure improvement grant towards rail in the Belle Fourche Industrial & Rail Park. The grant was approved recently by the South Dakota Board of Economic Development.
The grant was announced at Monday’s city council meeting by Hollie Stalder, director of the Belle Fourche Development Corporation, who aided City Engineer Ryan Kavan in preparation of the grant application on behalf of the city.
Stalder said that the official notification of the grant approval was directed to Mayor Gloria Landphere.
The grant is to cover city-owned trackage in development of transload facilities at the city’s Industrial Rail Park.
Kavan said the grant will be added to approximately $1 million in the city capital improvement budget to further develop the project by constructing rail access from the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad tracks.
“This grant permits us to extend our proposed track construction towards our industrial lead, where individual businesses needing direct rail access can have rail extended onto private property for their loading and unloading needs. As individual businesses locate in the park and need additional rail access, this will permit us to extend the track with minimal interruption to the transload portion of the track,” said Kavan.
Total improvements, including the state Board of Economic Development grant and a $50,000 grant received by the Belle Fourche Development Corporation from Black Hills Vision, extends the total rail investment to approximately $1.4 million.
Stalder said that the project opens the city’s property to rail use in the park itself, as well as for potential rail customers throughout the region.
“The economic impact includes creation of jobs and offering significant new opportunities for new and current businesses to utilize rail transportation for its efficiency in bulk carriage in our region,” she said. “That means more potential for solid skilled and support career opportunities for people in Belle Fourche.”
Stalder added that the development corporation is working with community partners to accommodate increased solid overall planned growth in the park and throughout the city.
“For the first time in more than half a century, new and growing existing businesses can consider access to bulk rail facilities,” she said. Rails, Stalder said, made Belle Fourche and keeps the city competitive in agriculture and minerals segments of the economy.
“This gives us the opportunity to offer the advantages of rail at the city’s rail park facility and grow good jobs and further build our tax base,” said Belle Fourche Development Corporation’s President Scott Peterson.
“A growing work force contributes to the customer base for our existing businesses. We have already seen local retail businesses respond to overall community growth through their own business expansion. The leadership partners in Belle Fourche over the past 10 months have brought in more than $575,000 to be invested in our community,” Peterson added.