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JSDC plan calls for new industrial parks

The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. is planning two new industrial parks, according to a strategic plan approved by the JSDC Board of Directors on May 15.

"We're developing the next steps for the business parks," said Corry Shevlin, business development manager for JSDC. "We don't want to fall into a lull."

Chris Rathjen, JSDC president, said the organization has accomplished a lot in the past three years.

"I think we did really well on the last strategic plan," she said. "We made real progress. I think the new one is very doable. These are the next logical steps."

The two industrial parks the JSDC currently owns are nearly full. The I-94 Business Park, located south of Interstate 94 and east of U.S. Highway 281, has three vacant lots remaining of the original 25 lots. The Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park, located at Spiritwood, will be at its rail and steam capacity when the planned Minnesota Soybean Processors soybean crushing plant goes into operation in 2019.

The soybean crushing plant will require an estimated $15 million upgrade to the rail loop at SEPA, and with the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant, will utilize nearly all steam generated at Spiritwood Station.

Spiritwood Station is the coal-fired electrical and steam generating plant operated by Great River Energy.

"We could put another business in there (SEPA)," said Connie Ova, CEO of JSDC. "Just not one with significant rail, road or steam use."

While there is still some space in existing industrial parks, it is time to look for new areas that can be developed, Shevlin said.

"We're transitioning to an airport industrial park," he said.

Tentative planning for an industrial park on the west side of the airport adjacent to N.D. Highway 20 has started. Plans call for about 21 lots, although that can be changed depending on the needs of businesses. Some of the lots would have taxiway access to the airport and would be reserved for aeronautical businesses, Shevlin said.

"We're currently putting together a business plan for review by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)," he said.

Final plans and possible construction of infrastructure are dependent on that approval, Ova said.

The new JSDC strategic plan calls for plans for the airport industrial park to be completed by Feb. 13, 2018.

Creating a new industrial park for possible large-scale manufacturers is more of a challenge, Shevlin said.

"It will be tough to replace SEPA," he said, "but what do we do if another big ag processor comes along? We would like to have those questions answered before they got here."

The new strategic plan calls for JSDC to identify another location for a manufacturing industrial park by Jan. 8, 2018, and to "explore the opportunity to buy or lease the site" by Jan. 7, 2019.

"We'd like to have it on a different railway," Ova said. "Likely the CP (Canadian Pacific). From there, we determine what the best location would be based on the availability of other utilities."

The CP main line angles across northeast Stutsman County and passes through Courtenay and Kensal.

Ova said even with a new location, recruiting another coal-fired electricity and steam generating plant would be unlikely. Attracting another soybean processing plant would also be difficult with the planned Minnesota Soybean Processors plant at Spiritwood projected to utilize 40 percent of all soybeans grown in North Dakota.

Gathering this information is important, Rathjen said.

"We want to be the whole package for a business," she said.

There are other agriculture-related businesses to explore, Ova said.

"There is still livestock value-added agriculture to explore," she said. "We have had interest from beef processing businesses. I don't know if we could sustain that type of plant or even get it permitted."

JSDC's strategic plan also includes support for an entrepreneurial center in Jamestown and working with existing businesses for growth and retention.

Bob Toso, former JSDC president and a current board member, said the new strategic plan should benefit the region.

"Like any strategic plan, I hope it maps out the growth in Jamestown," he said. "Particularly around the airport."