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opinion Dickinson,North Dakota 58602 http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/sites/all/themes/thedickinsonpress_theme/images/social_default_image.png
The Dickinson Press
Other Views: Up, up and away
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Soaring.

It's always tempting to take good news for granted.

Consider Friday's story, "Air Force to OK lease for tech park."

It's easy to glance at a story like that, think, "Tech park by an Air Force base? Had to happen, pretty routine stuff."

But for one thing, it didn't have to happen, as this Herald story from February makes clear:

"Grand Forks leaders could know by August whether a proposed unmanned aircraft systems campus will fly at Grand Forks Air Force Base," the story reported.

"That's when Grand Forks County and the regional Base Realignment Impact Committee should know whether the Defense Department will negotiate a needed land lease."

The Defense Department, in other words, could have said no. Getting to "yes" with the DoD never is a sure thing; and the fact that supporters of the Grand Forks-area project got there after all testifies to their very careful planning, documentation and presentation efforts.

For another thing, the tech-park proposal is anything but routine. Just consider this line from Friday's story: "Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in November that the project could create 2,700 jobs."

And this one, from a news story from earlier this year:

"The project known as Grand Sky will cover 225 acres on the Grand Forks Air Force base. ... Grand Forks County Commissioner John Schmisek says it would be the largest industrial park in North Dakota."

A Grand Sky brochure describes the project this way:

"The site plan envisions a variety of hangar, aviation, shop, office and data center facilities. The overall plan includes development of up to 1.2 million square feet of space to support companies, educational institutions, government contractors and public agencies involved in the UAS sectors."

Walmart Supercenters, by comparison, range in size from 98,000 to 261,000 square feet.

One more line, this one from Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., as quoted in a news story a few weeks ago:

"It has never been so cool to be from North Dakota." That's certainly true in the oil business, as the world now knows. And it's becoming true in unmanned aviation, too.

The Grand Forks Herald's Editorial Board formed this opinion.

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