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Published August 06, 2014, 09:53 AM

Tabor, SD, area lands Dakota Plains shuttle loading facility

Dakota Plains Ag Center has selected a site west of Tabor to build a $30 million grain shuttle loading facility, which is set to open in 2016.

By: Marcus Traxler, Forum News Service

TABOR, S.D. — Dakota Plains Ag Center has selected a site west of Tabor to build a $30 million grain shuttle loading facility, which is set to open in 2016.

Dakota Plains General Manager Matt Winsand gave the news to the Bon Homme County Commission Tuesday during its regular meeting in Tyndall, according to county board chairman John Pesek.

“This is one of those projects that few counties get the chance to have, and so to have it in Bon Homme County, you just don’t say no to a project like this,” he says.

The facility will be built at the junction of state highways 25 and 50 on a site east of Highway 25. Construction is slated to begin in April and open in fall 2016.

The Tabor site became a frontrunner for the grain-loading facility after talks between Dakota Plains and Yankton County to build a facility at Napa Junction had stalled after three years. A site at Meckling, between Yankton and Vermillion, was also considered for the new grain facility.

Winsand approached the county in May, and Pesek said the commissioners are on board with the plans.

“We’re all pretty excited,” Pesek says. “This is good for Bon Homme County and we’re going to have a big bump in tax revenue that is really going to help. We’re just like every other county where we need the revenue and this is big.”

The decision was made recently by Dakota Plains’ Board of Directors. The project will still need county approval on the planning and zoning level and from the county commission to be built.

The railroad will have to be rebuilt from Tabor to Napa Junction in Yankton County at an estimated cost of $10 million, according to Pesek, and Dakota Plains has indicated it will pay for $4 million in upgrades. Along with state funding, Pesek says the county would likely have to fund some of the upgrades, as well, with a Tax Increment Financing district. A TIF district uses the new property taxes generated by a development project — otherwise known as the tax “increments” — to pay for public improvements in the project area.

“We’re just going to have to have a TIF. That’s sort of the way you fund projects like this these days,” Pesek says.

Dakota Plains also operates the large grain-handling facility located in Beardsley, S.D., between Parkston and Tripp, and the Tabor project is expected to be similar in scope.

There is some concern from residents about the impact the large-scale operation will have on smaller area elevators, but the chairman says 90 percent of the feedback he’s received has been positive.

“I think each of those elevators has a niche market,” Pesek says. “And I think that they can co-exist with Dakota Plains without much problem.”