While Jacksonville is not one of the two Air National Guard locations the Air Force would prefer as a home base for its new F-35-A fighter jet, it’s still among the five sites in the running.
As part of the official selection process, Florida National Guard spokeswoman, Major Caitlin Brown, said the military is required to assess the affect the planes could have on the communities chosen to receive them.
“The Environmental Impact Study studies the things you would obviously think of with relation to environmental impact so noise, potentially wildlife. It also studies the impact the F-35 would have on the local community in terms of: Is construction going to be required? Will it provide any additional jobs? Will there be any sort of economic impact associated with it as well,” said Brown.
Montgomery, Ala. and Madison, Wis. are the Air Force’s top contenders for the plane. But the list also includes Jacksonville along with Harrison Township, Mich. and Boise, Idaho.
A public meeting on the subject is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the DoubleTree Hotel near the Jacksonville International Airport.
Comments can also be submitted to the National Guard’s environmental engineer by mail and online.
The deadline for those comments to be considered is April 6th.
The two home bases for 18 F-35A fighter jets are expected to be named sometime next year.