Grand Forks City leaders say they're at the beginning of a major, economic boom.
At his State of the City address today, Mayor Mike Brown said, "Invest, now is the time, Grand Forks is the place." And it appears Mayor, Mike Brown has good reason to tout the Grand Forks economy during his State of the City address.
Mike Brown, GF Mayor: "The foundation for our Community is the Grand Forks promise. Simply put, everyone has the opportunity to grow."
Grand Forks is now a national testing center for unmanned aircraft systems. It's expected to become a multi-billion dollar industry that will include Grand Sky, a research and testing facility at the Air Base, and more research and development facilities at UND.
And out here, on the northwestern edge of Grand Forks, a 1.5-billion dollar Northern Plains Nitrogen plant is in the works. It will take natural gas piped in from western North Dakota and turn it into fertilizer.
Plus, more than 100 Grand Forks companies are already doing business with the North Dakota oil boom.
Keith Lund, GF Economic Development Corporation: "We're looking at thousands and thousands of jobs for the projects we're looking at now. Success breeds success and opportunity breeds opportunity. So, we think the Grand Forks region is entering a boom right now."
Mike Brown, GF Mayor: "Economists call it the hockey stick curve, because it gets steep very quickly and Grand Forks is at the place right now. So, I expect to see great things in the immediate future."
Grand Sky, the UAS research and development facility at the Air Base alone, is expected to create 25-hundred jobs.