Study Projects 5,000+ to be Drawn by F-35 Buildup JobsBy Tim Ellis, KUAC
More than 5,000 people may come to the Fairbanks area by 2030 as part of the move to base two squadrons of F-35 fighters at Eielson Air Force Base. The latest estimate announced Monday is well above the previous estimate of 3,500. The bigger population increase is expected to place a greater burden on local services.
The new population-growth projections were announced at a meeting Monday in Salcha by consultants hired by the Fairbanks North Star Borough to study how the area can accommodate Eielson’s expansion. Shelly Wade is a member of the Arcadis project team that’s conducting the study. She says the higher projections include 400 or so additional personnel the Air Force will likely bring to Eielson, along with their family members.
“It’s highly likely the additional positions that’ve been requested by the Air Force will be approved,” she said.
Wade says the higher projections also include the number of people who would be drawn to the Fairbanks area by the jobs and other economic opportunities that would be generated by all the new personnel coming to Eielson.
“So, those folks need services,” she said. “They need food services, retail services, mechanics, child care – all of these things.”