The Regional Growth Plan for expansion of Eielson Air Force Base is being released this week. As KUAC’s Robyne reports, it looks at the impact of a 50 percent population increase at the base when F-35 aircraft are stationed there.
Two F-35A Lightning II squadrons will be stationed at the base in the next four years by the year 2022, with the first arriving in 2020.
Borough Mayor Karl Kassel informed the Assembly last night that work has already started on the suggestions made by Agnew Beck Consulting. The project firm was hired to examine what happens when about four-thousand more people move into the area near the Air Base.
“We’re taking the growth plan very seriously and acting on it already.”
The analysis estimates 2,000 of those new residents will be under the age of 17, causing a severe shortage of space for elementary and middle school students. The report notes there is already a shortage of affordable child care options in the borough, and the newcomers will bring about 800 children under the age of four.
The plan shows new growth has been an economic boost to the area, with lots of new housing already under construction. “It recommends we form a housing task force, and we’ve already done that with FEDC, Fairbanks Economic Development taking the lead on that.”
In addition to housing, education and child care, consultants examined Planning and Zoning, developing the civilian workforce, Public Safety, Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure, Health and Social Services, and even Quality of Life.
Kassel says the plan involves the private sector in improving growth.
“An example of that is Foundation Health Partners are already planning a health clinic on the east side of town.”
The plan will be on the website: EAFBRegionalGrowth.com