Open House meeting on Salcha Badger Rd. growth

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - An open house meeting was held to discuss the Salcha badger rd. proposed development project in anticipation of the F-35 fighter jets coming in 2019. Leaders of the Salcha-Badger Road Subarea plan hosted an open house at the Salcha senior center to hear the voices of residents in the area. They were given stickers to put on a map of where they would like to see certain development, such as residential or commercial areas. There were not many stickers put down. Most residents voiced that they do not want development or change, they like Salcha the way it is.
"I came to Salcha for the peace and quiet, and that's kinda what we'd like to maintain," said Marilyn Marsh, a resident of Salcha.
But project manager Shelly Wade was not discouraged.
"This is their chance to say what they love the most about their community, that doesn't mean that they don't want change, they want a type of change that they're able to have a voice in," said Wade.
Wade brought up how some development might help safety concerns the town has. Salcha is a rural area, built around the Richardson Highway, a fast highway where people speed excessively and there is little law enforcement. This is a main concern for elementary school students who have to wait for their bus on the highway and cyclists who have nowhere else to ride other than on the edge of the highway. These are things that could be changed as a part of this project, according to Wade.
"What I heard in Salcha tonight is like a lot of love and respect for the military population so how can that happen in a really thoughtful way that also preserves all the qualities of Salcha and other communities in the borough that people really love," said Wade.
Residents are still unsure about what this growth might look like.
"The growth might have to come but I would probably prefer it didn't," said Marsh.
As the project progresses, they will continue to include residents in the conversation. They will be releasing a draft of the suggested plans in mid-june with a minimum of 30 days for public comment.