MADISON, Wis. - Despite bipartisan support from elected officials and excitement from area businesses, a group of neighbors who have been long opposed to bringing the new F-35 fighter jet to Madison reacted with disappointment after Thursday's announcement that the plane would come to Truax Field.
Some neighbors have expressed concern over the potential for increased noise from the jets.
The Facebook page "No F-35 Fighter Jets in Madison," liked by 116 people as of Thursday night, called the move a "disaster" Thursday.
East side resident Mary Jo Walters, who said she's part of what she describes as a loosely organized group of neighbors who have been long opposed to the move, said the move is "not good news for the neighborhood."
"I was sort of not surprised but I'm also disappointed," she said.
Walters, who moved to the Schenk-Atwood neighborhood in 2006 and lives in the flight path of the airport, said she and like-minded neighbors worry about additional noise she believes the jets will create. She said current F-16 jets are loud enough.
"You can hear the windows ... almost like they're rattling, and you feel like you're under attack," Walters said.
When asked about neighborhood concerns, Republican Gov. Scott Walker said he does not believe the jets will have a significant noise impact.
"I'm close enough where I hear this just about any day I'm outside. It's a short amount of time," Walker said. "It really doesn't have a big impact."
Walker said he thinks noise created by F-35s would be around the same level, if not quieter, than current commercial and military operations at the airport.
"(C)ommercial aircraft probably (have) a more consistent and persistent impact in terms of volume levels than the current F-16s, and F35s in the future," he said.
Walters, who said the issue motivated her to launch an independent election campaign against U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who supports the project, said she doesn't believe that will be the case.
"I don't think the F-35s are going to be any quieter," she said.
Regardless, Walters said she's philosophically opposed to the base in general.
"I just know that we could spend that money in peaceful means instead of a war economy," Walters said. "I just think that the base should close."
Walters said she intends to make her voice heard at upcoming environmental impact meetings about the project, but she doesn't think it will accomplish much.
She said she knows she can do one thing, however.
"(I'll) continue to give the finger to the jets, because that's about all I can do," Walters said.
Walters said she has no plans to move, calling the neighborhood the only affordable option in the city to buy a home. She also said she did not want to move her children out of their school.
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