Wednesday, May 18, 2005

adn.com | alaska : Reality of Eielson cutbacks hits hard

adn.com | alaska : Reality of Eielson cutbacks hits hard: "Reality of Eielson cutbacks hits hard
NORTH POLE: Some see economic crisis with loss of 3,000 jobs.
By KYLE HOPKINS
Anchorage Daily News
Published: May 15th, 2005
Last Modified: May 15th, 2005 at 05:09 AM
NORTH POLE -- Norbert 'Red' Strandberg is living in the partially completed home he works on diligently just outside town. The North Slope Teamster plans to sell the single-family house for a handsome profit when he's finished.
It seemed like a good way to make big money two days ago, but now Strandberg is thinking he may want to hold off on buying any more property. Friday morning, the Department of Defense, as part of a massive, nationwide reorganization of the military, recommended nearby Eielson Air Force Base lose all but a sliver of the men and women stationed there.
A sampling of local opinion Saturday shows Strandberg is not alone in possibly rearranging some of his plans. Locals warn that if what former North Pole lawmaker Mike Miller calls an effective closure of the base materializes, the region's housing boom may grind to a halt.
Excavator Chris Farmier has lived in North Pole his entire life and says local builders are planning large single-family and multi-unit projects throughout the small military town.
'If the base shuts down, I guarantee the housing here is not going to thrive like it has been,' the 23-year-old said. 'It's going to take a steep dive.'
In addition to property values, other concerns that have arisen include school budgets, which depend on enrollment, the loss of service jobs and less sales tax revenue.
Saturday afternoon, Eielson airman Patrick McCabe and his wife, Jennifer, ate lunch at the North Pole Taco Bell and headed to the nearby Safeway to pick up milk. By the time they"
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