Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in the state of Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area.
Known for its enterpreunial spirit, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. Construction of the George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. A number of state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Departments of Environmental Conservation, Labor and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services.Wasilla gained international focus when Sarah Palin, who served as Wasilla's mayor before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his vice-presidential running mate in the 2008 United States presidential election.
In 1994, a statewide ballot initiative to move the capital of Alaska to Wasilla was defeated. Around the same time, the Matanuska Valley began to recover from an economic collapse, beginning a sustained boom that involved significant population growth, increased local employment, and a spike in residential and commercial real estate development.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 12.4 square miles. 11.7 square miles of it is land and 0.7 square miles of it (5.64%) is water.
Wasilla began as a transportation logistics & trade center serving natural resource extraction (mining, trapping & timber) followed by small-scale agricultural activity around1935; construction of the Parks Highway around 1975 substantially reduced travel time to Anchorage, encouraging the transition to a satellite community where workers commute to Anchorage for employment. Local sources of employment has increased in recent years.
About 35 percent of the Wasilla workforce commutes to Anchorage. The local economy is quite diverse, and residents are employed in a variety of city, borough, state, federal, retail and professional service positions. Other contributors to the economy inclue tourism, agriculture, wood products, steel, and concrete products.
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