Airbase will get money from SD lawmakers

Capitol News Bureau
KELO money 100 dollar bills

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota state government will contribute $3.2 million of general funds for a new fitness center in Boxelder as Ellsworth Air Force Base prepares for new B-21B bombers that will be stationed there.

State representatives voted 61-6 Tuesday to spend the money on what Chris Karr called the new Liberty Center Wellness Facility.

Senators had approved the funding 35-0 Monday, as Jessica Castleberry steered the appropriation into one of Karr’s empty bills, HB 1166, after the original legislation had been defeated.

The money will go to the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority to help pay for the project.

“The request comes directly from the base,” Mike Derby told other House members Tuesday. “This facility is more than just a rec center.”

Governor Kristi Noem called for the state funding during her December budget speech.

The authority has been awarded a $6.3 million grant from the federal Office of Economic Adjustment.

Most of the rest of the rec project would be funded by the state’s $3.2 million grant and $2 million through a tax-increment financing district. 

While the airbase and South Dakota National Guard would help pay for the center’s operations based on their use, the center would be open to anyone who buys memberships.

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