Boise loses bid for F-35s at Gowen Field

F-35 US Aircraft fighter jet, Photo Date: August 27, 2009 Photo: mashleymorgan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The city of Boise on Thursday lost its contentious bid to be the future home of F-35 stealth fighter jets.

Instead, U.S. Air Force officials announced they chose National Guard bases in Alabama and Wisconsin as their preferred locations.

According to a statement provided by the Air Force, Boise's Gowen Field and Air Guard facilities in Florida and Michigan were reasonable alternatives but ultimately not selected as preferred options.

"Although we are disappointed that Gowen Field will not receive primary consideration as a site for the F-35 mission, as a reasonable alternative we will undergo the same evaluations as the four other primary and alterative locations," said Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in a prepared statement. "We are confident that through this process, Gowen Field will be recognized as a logical choice to receive these state-of-the-art aircraft."

The decision ends an ongoing battle among Boise resident split on the benefits of an F-35 base. Supporters, including Otter and other state lawmakers, said the base would help stimulate Idaho's economy and help secure the future of Gowen Field. Critics countered that the loud jets would ruin property values and possibly damage the health of those neighboring the base.

"Gowen Field is a world-class facility that deserves a world-class flying mission," said Boise Mayor David Bieter in a statement. "I'm certain that through the process to come it will become clear that the Idaho Air National Guard deserves a mission that will guarantee their place in our community far into the future, just as they have been for over 70 years."

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