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BNSF May Sell Downtown Switchyard To City

August 3, 2012, 9:00 PM by Kelly Bartnick

BNSF May Sell Downtown Switchyard To City

A project that seemed derailed just months ago is now closer to being back on track.

An announcement on Friday from city officials says that after a second look, Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad company may sell the downtown rail yard to Sioux Falls.

“If they look regionally and study volumes of trains and the classification of this yard, it's a minor yard in their system,” Sioux Falls Public Works Director Mark Cotter said.

Cotter says the new plan would mean no new tracks called for in previous plans. It would also mean no new switchyard east of town and no new tracks in South Sioux Falls.

“It's more commercial. It's more residential. It's more right in the core of the downtown,” Cotter said.

Cotter says the sale would free up more than ten acres for development. Two tracks that were always included in the relocation plan would remain. The rest would be removed.

He says initial feedback from federal officials would allow money already approved for the project to be used in the land purchase.

“The intent was to remove the tracks for redevelopment. This still accomplished that. So we're encouraged, but we'll have to do much more dialogue to satisfy requirements and use federal funds,” Cotter said.

The city expects more details of how much the purchase price would be along with other details in a full proposal by mid to late September.

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