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Could Devils Lake be home to a new UAS industrial park?

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DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ)—Local city leaders are looking to build an industrial park to launch and land drones that are specially designed to help farmers across the area, and they think they have found the spot.

With lots of open space, an open runway, and plenty of enthusiasm, Devils Lake City leaders think they have the recipe for success.

It's this plot in Devils Lake where city leaders are hoping to build an industrial drone park focused on agriculture and military technology.

There's not much happening at the Devils Lake Regional Airport—for years that was seen as a problem—but now leaders in the city have a solution.

"We have about 30 acres of airport property that we're looking at plotting out," said Airport Manager John Nord.

Crop dusters are already stationed at the airport but the airport's manager wants different a aircraft in the air.

"Drones are being used right now to check soils, what fertilizers need to be added,” said Nord.

With only two United flights each day, the Airport Manager and city leaders say the airport is the right place for UAS businesses geared toward helping farmers and the military.

"We've got available acreage, we've got the available staffing and things like that to help them as they want to proceed,” said Rachel Lindstrom, of Forward Devils Lake.

City leaders have already started talking to the companies but don't have any on board yet—they’ve created a task force including military leaders and representatives from the college—all dedicated to helping the industry take off.

While a project this big takes time, leaders are optimistic.

"Two years from now we could have a really nice set up out there," said Nord.

Organizers still have to work out the details with the Feds, they say that'll take time—they hope to have a solid plan finalized within two years, and they say nearby Grand Sky is not a competitor.

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