As a retired career U.S. Air Force officer, I have seen the serious economic and social harm done to communities by the closing of three bases. The closures resulted from encroachment on longtime existing bases. The primary reason for the closures was development of surrounding open property.
Communities that have lost their air bases realize it takes years to overcome the loss of cash infused into their economies. Losing Fairchild Air Force Base could cost the Spokane area as much as $1.4 billion.
Some people are looking for short-term gain, trying to downplay the risk of its closure. Airway Heights alone would see a significant increase in apartment vacancies. Spokane County merchants, from clothing to automobiles, would lose sales to Fairchild personnel. The Medical Lake School District would also be adversely impacted by a significant loss of student population.
Our business community cannot gamble with Fairchild’s potential closure. New construction on air bases is routinely abandoned when Congress and the Air Force decide to close a base.
Help Spokane avoid being added to the list of recent closures: Mather, McClellan, March, George and Chanute Air Force bases. Support of Proposition 1 is essential to our region’s economy.