Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce legislation to continue the conversation on how to preserve and protect an important neighborhood in Fairbanks, Alaska from eventual destruction.
In 1987, the Army entered into a Section 801 build-to-lease housing contract for 400-home community on seventy-six acres of land. These homes, consisting of three, four, and five bedroom units, a maintenance and leasing facility, associated roads and parking areas, landscaping, eighteen playgrounds, and a central heating system including 39 boiler houses, are an important source of housing for military families and the local area. This group of homes is more than just housing or a neighborhood, it is a community.
The housing lease for this Section 801 contract expired in 2007 and the ground lease is scheduled to expire on June 26, 2018. Without an extension of the ground lease, the 400 houses must be removed from their current location no later than 180 days following the expiration of the lease. The most likely outcome of this situation is a complete demolition of these properties.
Currently, these 400 houses are nearly 100% occupied (99% in August of 2012) which is an unbiased testament to the value of these houses. Additionally, the four and five bedroom units are a valuable but very limited resource for the large number of military families with multiple children stationed in the area. In fact, seeing the value of these homes to both the military community and the local tax base, several community leaders and interests have written to me over the past couple of years to express their support for extending the ground-lease under these homes.
While I understand that this is a sensitive issue, it simply does not make sense for 400 high-use and high-value homes to be torn down. There must be a better solution. This bill may not be that solution, but it is a critical step in the direction to finding one.