Local leaders and community members shared concerns and offered feedback tonight for the possibility of a new tanker mission at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
The base is one of four nationwide that’s being considered to get the new mission and tonight’s meeting was crucial to try to obtain that. Everything that was discussed tonight was documented for federal officials, and it’s that information that will play a crucial role for the Grand Forks Air Force Base to gain control of the KC-46A Tanker Mission.
people remember the KC-135 tankers that were relocated in 2010, and those residents are very hopeful to have tankers back in the air — but first, local leaders need to assess the mission’s impact on the city.
Jean Reynolds: “Some issues include hazardous waste, solid waste, storm water management, threat to impact an endangered species — there’s a whole gamut of issues — aircraft noise.”
The base stands at 1,200 military personnel and it’s hopeful that the new mission could double the number jobs. Something that hit the community hard when the last mission left.
Klaus Thiessen, Grand Forks Economic Development CEO:”The economic impact was sufficient, but not only the economic impact but the psychology of losing that mission.”
The Grand Forks Air Force Base is up against three other cities to be the main operating – Fairchild in Washington, McCannell in Kansas and Altus in Oklahoma. Only one will get 36 planes but only Grand Forks and Altus are being considered for the Formal Training Unit which will provides eight more planes.
Klaus: “I think we are the poster child in the country for community support of the base and the air force knows that.”
There are a lot of factors that need to be considered but the air force is hoping to have a decision for a base this spring.
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