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Considerable upgrading in housing quality was subsequently observed on the part of the remaining population. The decline in housing initially valued at less than $15,000 (1968 prices) average 13. 9 percent, while more expensive houses declined, on the average, only 9.3 percent. Following the implementation of the community economic recovery programs, the local real estate markets recovered their former losses.
Another important resource available to communities affected by the continued operation of a defense facility is the Federal impact assistance program for school operations established by Public Law 81-874. This program provides annual contributions to communities for educating the children of DoD military and civilian personnel. The amount of this contribution depends on the number of school age dependents of DoD mil ry and civilian personnel residing or the base or in the community. While some carry-over features exist under the law, these contributions usually decline rapidly with the phase-down of defense activities.
The impact of military installations on local retail sales is difficult to measure unless the displaced military and civilian work force exceeds the regional employment base by at least 15 percent. For instance, Mobile, Alabama lost 1100 military and 12,500 civilian jobs between 1964 and 1969, within a work force of 104,000. Yet, retail sales in Mobile grew continually each year. More recently, the loss of 16,200 (within a work force of 100, 800) Defense and NASA jobs in Brevard County, Florida, from 1968 to 1971, resulted in a one percent loss of retail sales for one year, with a rapid expansion thereafter.
Although total retail sales in a'community may not decline significantly when a base is below this 15 percent threshold, the impact on specific merchants and small businesses may be severe.
For instances, automobile dealers, tailor shops, laundries and restaurants may be particularly vulnerable where they are serving a large militar.y clientele.
attracting new industry to complement their reliance on the military. A strong imbalance in the local economy has developed. While the economic impact of a military base on the surrounding economy may be substantially different from the impact of private industry, the economic dependence of small communities on a nearby military base often is stronger than is the case with those communities having sizable Defense contracts. In both instances, however, local leaders commonly are too complacent. There is little effort to seek other industries until the base closure announcement or defense contract reduction is imminent.
Impacts on Specific Communities
The communities discussed below represent the new workload that has accrued to the EAC as a result of the announcement. There may be other requests for assistance, but experience shows that the present list represents the approximate dimensions for economic adjustment assistance that will arise from this Defense action. Not all of the 28 communities have been impacted in the same degree. In some, such as St. Albans, New York and Imperial Beach, California, the impact is minimal, and the requirement for EAC assistance is expected to be minimal.
In a few instances Oxnard- Ventura County, California; Key West, Florida; Bainbridge, Maryland; Barnstable County, Massachusetts; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; and Charleston, South Carolina--economic adjustment programs, in response to earlier Defense actions, were already in progress when new Defense actions affecting them were announced on April 17. In these communities the basic organization has been established and development plans prepared. In some communities, on the other hand, the impacts are new and severe. Hence, the programs must start from scratch. The latter represents a real challenge for the EAC.
Analyses of the impacts on the 28 communities affected by actions announced on April 17, 1973 follow.
FORT WAINWRIGHT, FAIRBANKS, ALASKA
Fort Wainwright is contiguous to the City of Fairbanks, Alaska's second largest city with a population of over 19,000 people. Fairbanks, | located 400 miles north-northeast of Anchorage and 100 miles south of the Artic Circle. lies in the Tanana River Valley of the 30,000 square mile Alaska Central Plateau region. As the supply, service and shipping center for the vast inland territory of Alaska, Fairbanks plays a major role in the economy of the state.
Early in 1972, a reduction of 4,000 in authorized military manpower in Alaska was announced with Fort Wainwright providing 2,779 of the drawdown to be completed by the end of June 1973. The north post cantonment area, consisting of 348 acres and 91 structures, was declared excess and was reported to Armed Services Committees on June 29, 1973. The closure of the north post cantonment resulted in the elimination of 159 civilian jobs (including 89 in unfilled vacancies). The reduction in the civilian force of 70 personnel will be accomplished through normal attrition or retirements. The long phase-out of the military personnel and the natural attrition of the civilian employees to achieve the realignment resulted in no more than a moderate impact upon the Fairbanks community.
At the request of the Alaska Congressional Delegation, a reconnaissance visit to Fairbanks was made during the period on July 9-13, 1973. The size of the reconnaissance team was larger than usual through the incorporation of certain appropriate EAC representatives in order to possibly preclude the need for a full EAC team visit at a later time. A formal report of the visit, including a list of projects needed to achieve community goals, will be prepared upon receipt of recommendations from participating Federal and State agencies.
The EAC Program will primarily concentrate on two areas:
To assist in the development of a viable program for the
To promote the re-use of the facility by civilian and/or
Disposition of DoD Property
The 348 acres of excess property was reported to the Armed Services Comittees of the U.S. Congress on June 29, 1973. Inasmuch as the excess area is unimproved public domain land, it will revert to the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior. A sevenmember Facilities Committee, representing the governmental and commercial elements of Fairbanks, has been organized to develop a re-use plan for the excess area.
The impact of the Defense realignment action at Fort Wainwright will not be more than moderate upon Fairbanks. The community has limited proposals for the re-use of the excess real property due principally to the lack of industrial opportunity in that remote area and the necessity for extensive modification of the existing services and facilities on the property to meet new civilian oriented requirements.
The recent establishment of the Community Facilities Planning Committee should provide the necessary management and direction to a viable re-use program. Local planning studies need consolidation and updating to conform to new trends in the community and to incorporate the excessed property. The community leadership is willing to undertake the task of developing an effective adjustment program, but lacks experience and resources to meet the challenge.
An application for Technical Assistance needed to plan for the productive reutilization of the excess property and facilities, is being prepared. The study will delineate the size, scope, and cost required to achieve the community's objectives.
A report, based on the recent reconnaissance survey, is being prepared. This will identify development strategy and a select list of projects needed to achieve established goals for the Fairbanks community.