Gowen Field may not be totally out of the running for an F-35 fighter jet mission.
An outside group is about to conduct an environmental review for all five Air National Guard bases that were in contention for the military’s newest stealth fighter jet – including in Boise.
“They consider everything from the noise impact on the surrounding community to impacts on wildlife, wetlands …” says Idaho Air National Guard spokesperson Maj. Christopher Borders.
Two months ago, the Air Force announced Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin and Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama were the top two spots to host the F-35.
At the time, Boise leaders say they were disappointed by the move, but said they felt like hosting a fighter jet mission was still possible in the future.
Borders says a final decision on where to place the F-35 squadron won’t come for a while. But he won’t weigh Boise’s chances of leapfrogging the four other bases in contention.
“It’s not for me to speculate on if we’re going to inch out one of the other primary considerations,” he says.
Opposition group Citizens for a Livable Boise maintains such a mission would slash property values and damage the health of those living near Gowen Field.
The group also questions the state setting aside $100,000 in taxpayer money for a public relations blitz, as well as supporters' estimates of how much of an economic boost the mission could give the Treasure Valley or how popular it is in the first place.
They, and backers of the mission, will have a chance to comment on the environmental review from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Wyndham Garden Boise Airport Convention Center.
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