Here's something you don't hear every day: Sioux Falls is having a rail breaking ceremony.

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether and City of Sioux Falls officials will gather at 401 East Eighth Street on Wednesday (November 8) at 11:30 AM for a Rail Breaking Ceremony.

The Rail Breaking ceremony will celebrate the City of Sioux Falls taking full possession of the downtown railyard property and beginning the process to remove five rail tracks from the railyard.

During November, all but two crossings will be removed from Sixth Street and three crossings from Eighth Street and new pavement will be installed in those areas. Over the winter and next spring, the Freight House north of Eighth Street will be demolished, the tracks will be removed from the yard, and the site will be prepared for redevelopment.

In 2015, the City of Sioux Falls purchased the downtown railyard from BNSF Railway Company (BNSF). The purchase utilized $27,334,500 in federal funds appropriated in 2005. For two years, BNSF leased the land back from the City while it constructed new siding tracks north of Rice Street and west of Timberline Avenue. BNSF will retain two mainline tracks through the downtown area to maintain their rail operations.

Timeline:

  • 2001: Feasibility study complete
  • 2002: Conceptual phasing plan developed
  • 2005: $40 million Congressional appropriation
  • September 2013: Environmental Assessment complete
  • December 2014: Independent appraisal work complete
  • July 2015: Purchase agreement reached
  • August 31, 2015: Purchase agreement signed
  • November 2, 2015: Closed on property
  • 2016: BNSF began constructing new siding tracks
  • November 2017: City takes full possession of the property
  • Spring 2018: Groundbreaking on the first phase of redevelopment

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