Plans for a major, new development that could bring more than 3-thousand new jobs to the northern valley, are moving closer to becoming a reality.
Officials say construction of "Grand Sky", a tech park for Unmanned Aerial Systems could start very soon.
Grand Sky, a 217 acre tech park for the development and research of Unmanned Aerial Systems will be built in the southwest corner of the Air Base.
Aerospace giant, Northrop Grumman already has plans to locate here, and many other companies could be on the way, creating as many as 32-hundred jobs.
I just talked with Grand Forks County Commissioner, John Schmisek by telephone. Schmisek was out in Washington D.C. meeting with the developer of the project. Schmisek now says construction could begin as early as next spring.
Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman: "Flying at 60,000 feet, 340-knots, the air vehicle can stay aloft for 35-hours at a time to survey vast areas."
Plus, UND Aerospace already has a Global Hawk training facility for students at the base, that's growing at a phenomenal rate.
Al Palmer, UND Aerospace: "It's capturing the interest of our young kids. We've gone from 5 students in 2009 to 134 students now… declared majors in Unmanned Aerial Systems. The young kids seem to like that technology."
Grand Forks officials are betting the final piece for Grand Sky falls into place by January 1st, and the FAA will certify air space around Grand Forks as a testing center for unmanned aircraft.
Al Palmer: "A leadership role in UAS education, research and training."
Officials say it could all add up to making our region a worldwide leader in the UAS industry that's growing by leaps and bounds.
Commissioner John Schmisek says the Grand Sky tech park should wind up costing the County nothing, since the developer will lease space and bear the expenses.