Box Elder has been awarded funds for infrastructure projects

West River is prepared for a residential expansion in Box Elder.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 7:52 PM CDT
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Box Elder, S.D. (KOTA) -Seven housing projects received a boost from a long-delayed infrastructure program, with Box Elder leading the way after being awarded three development grants.

West River is prepared for a residential expansion, particularly in Box Elder, which is home to Ellsworth Air Force Base. With the anticipated arrival of the B-21 bomber, the city is preparing for an influx of new residents. To support this growth, the South Dakota Housing and Development Authority has awarded three grants to Box Elder, enabling the construction of additional homes.

“There’s an annual demand for probably the foreseeable future of at least 100 to 125 single-family homes just in Box Elder and another 500 rental units needing to be built as well,” said City of Box Elder grant writer Rob Timm.

According to Chas Olsen, Executive Director for the state’s Housing Authority, the housing infrastructure financing program operates on a first-come, first-served basis. He says Box Elder was among the initial applicants, meeting criteria such as demonstrating housing need, applicant capability, and financial feasibility. Cities that received the money did have some requirements.

“One, they support the application for infrastructure funding; two, they’ll loan and maintain it; they have the capacity to serve it based on the wastewater treatment and water capacity, all of that. So we really tried to put the ball in the court of the municipalities and the political subdivisions to kind of guide which projects they wanted to fund and where they thought the biggest need was,” said South Dakota Housing Development Authority Executive Director Chas Olsen.

In addition, the grant money is available to help developers cover the cost of installing water, sewer lines, and homes.

“Those are key elements that are expensive these days. You’re looking at a 30-40% increase in costs for a lot of the infrastructure, and I think all of our developers are seeing those increases in prices. All the cities across the country are seeing those price increases,” said Timm.”