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Forum News Service, Published October 17 2013

Air Force to sign lease for technology park at Grand Forks base

GRAND FORKS - The Air Force will sign a lease with Grand Forks County in December, allowing a technology park for unmanned aircraft to be built at Grand Forks Air Force Base, the state’s congressional leaders and the governor said Thursday.

“The Enhanced Use Lease program will diversify the Grand Forks County employment base and provide financial and operational support to the Grand Forks Air Force Base,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the county on this program going forward.”

The county would lease 217 acres at the base for 50 years in exchange for payments. The business park, dubbed “Grand Sky,” will be home to firms specializing in research and development of technology for unmanned aircraft systems.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in November that the project could create 2,700 jobs.

Hoeven said in statement Thursday that having the tech park would bolster the state’s chances of becoming one of the federal government’s six test sites where unmanned and manned aircraft can mix.