BATA, BSD working to share resources


Two meetings will address cooperative issues

BROOKINGS – The Brookings Area Transit Authority facility is almost 16 years old. 

According to Executive Director Brenda Schweitzer, “We probably outgrew it 12 years ago.” 

Now, with opportunities available through the Federal Transit Administration, BATA is working with the Brookings School District in exploring options for building a facility that could serve both agencies.

“Try to think outside the box a little bit,” the director added, noting that the Brookings School District “has some garaging needs as well for their fleet.” 

In addition to shared garaging, the two vehicle fleets could do maintenance in a shared facility.

Now BATA and BSD are planning a pair of meetings to update the general public “on the latest in our efforts to share resources.” The meetings will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

The first will be held at noon in Brookings City Council Chambers, 520 Third St. The second will held at 6 p.m. at Dakota Prairie Elementary School, 111 26th St. S. The topics and format are the same for both meetings.

Schweitzer explained that BATA approached BSD a few years ago, looking to some type of shared facility such as the City of Brookings and Brookings County have in the Brookings City & County Government Center. She explained that the two entities pooling their resources and grant opportunities, could make “a very viable story for FTA.” 

She added that BATA and BSD “have been working through a planning grant to see if this is something we could shake out.”

The planning is being done by TSP, a design firm out of Sioux Falls, and Rich Leners, of RPL Transit Consulting, out of Ames, Iowa.

Schweitzer noted that land could be the biggest challenge to a shared project, and that will be addressed at the meetings. A timeline and expenses will also be addressed. 

There will be social distancing at both meetings and, while not mandated, wearing of masks is recommended.

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