The work continues on the Sioux Falls downtown railroad relocation project, one that looks to move the current switchyard away from downtown.
Tuesday night, members of that project are getting a few steps closer to an official plan.
Earlier this summer, Burlington Northern stepped in and offered to sell the land to the city, in addition construct a railroad interchange along Rice Street, northeast of downtown.
Tuesday, the project team announced that as an official alternative.
The alternative, if the city buys the land, would mean 9.5 acres are free to redevelop for things like retail stores, residential buildings and offices.
"We're further along in this process today than we have been in the past. I'm extremely encouraged by the cooperation that's going on between the Burlington Northern, the city and all parties involved," Jim Entenman said.
Councilors say the project is proposing positive alternatives that will do wonders for downtown, and its future.
"We've always talked about re-developing downtown, when that rail is down there, you're limited with the development that can take place downtown," Entenman said.
9.5 acres means new office space, retail stores and places to live.
"Right now, there's a huge interest in residential development. With proximity to the River Greenway, we've talked to developers that want to acquire portions of that rail yard so they can use it for their development projects," Planning and Building Services Director Mike Cooper said.
That lines up with the city's objective: to feasibly move the rail yard out of downtown in order to create new development.
"At least this will give us an opportunity to open up some more land, look at the possible future of development of downtown and remove or at least reduce the amount of traffic coming into downtown Sioux Falls," Entenman said.
The deal is being worked out by the city and Burlington Northern and won't be finalized until around this time next year. As far as costs or the market value of that land, they are details still being looked into.
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