The Bureau of Land Management’s South Dakota Field Office will anchor the eastern gateway to the Belle Fourche Industrial & Rail Park with new office and storage facilities.
The 18 full time and summer seasonal employees will be moving from several facilities in Belle Fourche into a 5,600-square-foot office facility with another 3,300 square feet of warehouse and 32,000 square feet of storage yard.
Diane Friez, district manager for the BLM Eastern Montana/Dakotas district, said the new facility will consolidate employees in three locations, supplies and equipment from two more locations in Belle Fourche.
“Right now the staff is in a location we have been in since 1981,” Friez said. “We’ve definitely outgrown it.”
She added that efforts to upgrade the BLM presence in Belle Fourche have been in the works for seven years.
Most of the federal land surface under BLM management is in Butte County, about 145,000 acres around Belle Fourche. The Fort Meade Recreation Area near Sturgis is a BLM facility, as are areas around Lead and Deadwood.
The South Dakota office also manages roughly 1.7 million acres of mineral rights.
The new BLM facility will be leased through the federal General Services Administration from Belle Fourche GSA Properties, Ltd. The developer is LG2 Development, LLC.
Hollie Stalder, director of the Belle Fourche Development Corporation, said LG2 purchased slightly more than two acres at the northeast entrance to the rail park. “The developer hopes to break ground mid to late November,” Stalder said.
Plans are for a May or June 2016, occupancy and grand opening date.
Friez said, “It’s going to be such a benefit to have all of our crews in one location.” Other sites had been considered, she said, “But it makes the most sense to keep it there. We are well-rooted in the community; it’s been a good town for us.”
Stalder said the sale of the land in the park was closed Monday, Oct. 19. “We are excited the Bureau of Land Management will be staying in Belle Fourche,” she said. “I know they were looking at multiple locations.”
Since the property is privately owned and leased to the federal government, Stalder said, it will be subject to property taxes.
Mark Jacobsen, district public affairs specialist, said that the move to the new facility will be designed for current and future technology for mapping and other office needs. “It definitely will be state of the art,” he said.
Friez said the new location also will offer much better access and parking for staff and office visitors.
The BLM-administered lands throughout South Dakota are used for livestock grazing, mineral extraction, forest management and recreation (especially hunting) where legal public access exists.