Officials from Fairbanks, other local governments and Eielson Air Force Base last week signed a charter agreement to participate in the Air Force Community Partnership Program, along with separate agreements setting up specific partnerships.
The agreements signed Thursday will allow surrounding communities to collaborate with Eielson to help military spouses find jobs, connect local residents with job openings on the installation and use the base’s indoor turf fields in the winter.
The agreements are “the first step in a long process,” said Col. Michael Winkler, commander of the 354th Fighter Wing.
“The fact we’re signing some papers here to make life better in the greater Fairbanks North Star Borough, Eielson and Fort Wainwright community is an awesome thing,” Winkler said, reported the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “In my 25 years of service, I have never seen a local community as supportive as we have here at Eielson Air Force Base.”
Talks began last year among community and Eielson officials to identify municipal services and other functions that could be shared under DOD’s new authority allowing installations and host communities to enter into intergovernmental support agreements.
The agreement on the use of Eielson’s indoor playing fields will allow players in a youth baseball league to practice in the wintertime.
“The summer programs will continue and even expand with Eielson Air Force Base youth sports joining and playing interleague play with the Interior Baseball league,” said David Soderlund, board secretary for Interior Baseball.
City of Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart broached several other partnership ideas, including having Fairbanks Police Department equipment repaired on base and collaborating on training exercises. Both would save the city money, he said.