It is a project that has been in the works for nearly a decade. Now, crossing a big hurdle could get downtown Sioux Falls one step closer to a development that could soon change its landscape.
If finalized this year, the railroad relocation project could move the switchyard away from downtown, freeing up just under 10 acres of land for new development and opportunity.
This project to move the switchyard has been talked about for a long time and now, though we still have a long way to go, this week, the city is closer than ever before.
Council members just completed what's called an MOU or Memorandum of Understanding. It's an agreement between the City of Sioux Falls, Federal Highway Administration, SD DOT and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. It serves to law the groundwork and the plan ahead of making a multi-million dollar purchase.
Part of the relocation project includes $35 million earmarked from the Federal Government, with support from Senators Thune and Johnson, to help pay for this.
The thing is, there's no guarantee the federal government will give Sioux Falls the $35 million which is why the project needs to move along quickly and efficiently.
"Removing the tracks allows property owners to add onto their buildings, redevelop their buildings, property, it should create a whole lot of opportunities for development downtown," Council Member Greg Jamison said.
Once Mayor Mike Huether signs the MOU, it will move forward with creating a purchasing agreement by this summer. The city could potentially own the land and start the redevelopment by the end of 2013.
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