There was a big announcement today at the weekly luncheon for the Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Luke Hopkins told the audience that Eielson Air Force Base was selected as one of 9 bases that will compete to house the newest F-35 fighters from the Air Force."
Mayor Luke Hopkins proudly wearing his F-35 ball cap, released the news that the Secretary of the Air Force had included Eielson Air Force Base as one of the nine bases contending for relocation of the F-35's He says the F-35's would be a major win for the community.
"This is an opportunity for our community.rather than over the last year it's been a fight to stop. This is a fight to grow.
This is a fight to get. So we think it is important for Eielson AFB".
Jim Dodson with the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation, says the relocation of the planes to Fairbanks would mean an incredible boost to the community along with an increase in job and business potential. "This has the effect of more than doubling the impact coming from Eielson.
You know we would be looking at an increase in our community product of about 20 per cent.We have some issues to clean up in the community like air quality and stuff. But that's what we're really going to come together and ask the community to help us with. You know , how do we make ourselves more attractive so that we can be the top candidate to bring in the F-35's".
Another compelling reason for the F-35's to be relocated to Eielson Air Force Base, is for strategic purposes. Tim Jones Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee says "The location of Eielson here at the top of the world, puts it in prime position to support theaters throughout the Pacific, really throughout the world. Unparalleled capability, strategic locations are important, but training opportunities are unparalleled as well".
Even though a decision is not expected until 2016, the wheels are in motion, and KTVF will keep you updated all the way until the final decision is made.