BOISE When it comes to the future of Gowen Field, there have been no final decisions. Yet, with so much still up in the air, many worry about the potential impact those decisions will have on base jobs and the livelihood of those that rely on the base.
That potential impact is no small thing. The negative economic impact due to a loss of any kind at Gowen Field could be in the tens of millions, potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.
The A-10 airplane and the Apache helicopter are two staples over the skies of Boise. Once a steady, no worry of ever going away employer, but recent budget cut talks on the national level have many people worried about Gowen Field s future.
It's a very delicate time for the Idaho National Guard. We're facing the potential loss of two different flying missions, said Col. Tim Marsano with the Idaho National Guard.
Those two missions that Col. Marsano is talking about are the A-10 Thunderbolt mission with the Idaho Air National Guard and the Apache helicopter mission with the Idaho Army National Guard.
It's really tenuous right now because if we lose the flying mission that we have in the Idaho Air National Guard right now, and we don't get another flying mission to replace that, that's the potential loss of over 1,000 jobs, said Marsano.
And if the Army mission goes away with the Apache's - that's another 400 jobs.
Marsano says there's talk of replacing both missions, but nothing is close to final, and that could still be a net loss of jobs.
Right now those two missions bring in nearly $300 million a year in federal money. Should either or both of the missions go away, the impact not only to the base, but to other area businesses can't be ignored.
The number of people and businesses dependent on that payroll making its way through the economy is just enormous, said Boise Mayor David Bieter.
Bieter says the economic multiplier from the payroll of just the Air Guard translates to an $80 million economic shot in the arm each year.
You may not have a job at Gowen Field, or may not directly be a vendor or business that does business directly with them, but the effect on us all, across the valley and not just Boise, we ought to all really understand that and that's why we're getting the word out, said Bieter.
Add to that, our economy, which has been clawing its way back to pre-recession numbers, more jobs lost would hurt our recovery.
You can look out my window here and see cranes in the air, great things going on. We're coming back in many ways, but we need those job drivers, the stable, decent paying, family-supporting jobs to stay around and Gowen's been that for generations, said Bieter.
When it comes down to it, a lot of this is guess work. No one knows the exact impact these potential cuts will have. That's why, as Mayor Bieter puts it, it's all hands on deck to make sure we keep the missions we have or replace them with something else.