I met with the leadership of our Community Recreation and Events department on Monday. A developer in South Cheyenne wants to build a park and give it to the City of Cheyenne. With cuts the Parks Division has made over the past few years, the question is: do we have the resources to manage another park area? I appreciate their concerns about the budget and am proud of them being open to the idea because it is good for our city and the neighborhood that is lacking in open space.
The State of Wyoming has recently made many changes to our State liquor laws. It opens the ability for the City Council to relax who can get a restaurant liquor license. It allows the City Council to define a restaurant and the dispensing area. What kind of restaurant do you think should be able to sell alcohol? The question has been sent to the City Council to give our City Clerk guidance. The date to make the changes to meet state law is July 1st.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, the 6th Penny Sales Tax project list for city projects was approved. Fire stations, police radios, road maintenance, and the greenway were the big areas of concern the tax will hopefully address. Ward II Councilman Dr. Mark Rinne and I met with the county-wide committee to put the ballot together on Wednesday night. I hope to have the opportunity to present our project list to all of you over the next six months. Your vote will help make our community safer and our roads smoother.
Tuesday, I went to Wayne, Nebraska with an impressive group of State and Local leaders. The goal was to visit a factory that builds quality homes with the hope of bringing a similar factory to Cheyenne. Creating over 100 very quality jobs and helping to solve our housing shortage seems like a win-win to me. A local builder is the vision behind the effort. Helping local entrepreneurs expand makes sense to me. They are already here and love Cheyenne and Wyoming.
Thursday afternoon we did a ribbon cutting at the Cheyenne Junior League softball fields to celebrate the new turf infields on the three major fields. This is an amazing partnership between the City, Laramie County School District 1 (LCSD1), and the Rec Board. Our local high schools added girls’ softball as a varsity sport. Central, East, and South High School girls’ teams were present, and they are so fun to watch. One moment of nervousness was an unexpected offer to throw out the first pitch. I asked a pitcher from Central to show me the form and lobbed one in there at 25 miles per hour. It was a blast! It shows what a partnership can do by sharing resources to improve our community. I cannot wait to find the next opportunity.
I attended a Voice of the Community Session with representatives from Microsoft on Thursday. The purpose was for them to check in with the community to see if their efforts are on track and making a difference. I knew they were doing good work in our community but was amazed at the extent of what they have accomplished. One of the projects I really appreciate is the Gutter Bin collaboration they are doing with the local Rotary Club. They are putting in these bins that catch garbage coming into our storm water inlets and keeping it out of the creek. This will make the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) happy and is the right thing to do. They are also partnering on the Arboretum. This historic plot of land has many species of trees that need attention, or they will be lost forever. Microsoft and partners are working to make sure that does not happen. I have shared with you my admiration for the amazing group of individuals and companies giving of their time and fortune to make Cheyenne the great place it is to live, work, and play.
Thursday evening, I was honored to attend and speak at the graduation of Dad’s Making a Difference. Seven men invested time in themselves and their children by enrolling in the program. They each earned their Commercial Driver License (CDL) and learned life skills. While the CDL will help them earn a good living, the life skills will make the biggest difference. Being that good role model for the children in their lives will pay dividends for generations to come. Congratulations to the graduates and thank you to Sage Truck Driving School and the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services for a great program and class.
Friday morning, I toured Cheyenne with a consultant that was hired to help Cheyenne and the Governing Body get an Urban Renewal Authority (URA) set up. This URA is a tool that can be used to remediate blighted properties and help get them cleaned up and back into serving our community. I see areas like the Hitching Post Inn, the downtown hole, and the Reed Avenue Corridor as places where a URA might make a difference. It was great to learn about how a URA works. It is not a magic bullet, but another valuable tool in our redevelopment toolbox. I hope you will see some action in the next few months creating this board. I especially want to thank LEADS for their help in hiring the consultant and their vision to help make the Hynds Building and the downtown hole project happen.
My Chief of Staff, Andy Worshek, is one class away from graduating from the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Cheyenne program. This week their class learned about the Legal System and Law Enforcement. I wanted to give a shoutout to Sgt. Petersen and our Field Training Officers for helping this class understand the effort and professionalism our amazing police force brings to the table every day. The class was introduced to show some of the risk and threat assessment training our police force experience on a regular basis. They walked away with the same great appreciation for our police team that I have. I am very thankful for these programs.
The question this week comes from Rolf Skoetsch. Rolf asks about the status of the Enhanced-Use Lease (EUL) and the housing project that is planned next to F.E. Warren Air Force Base along Happy Jack Road.
It would be a private/public partnership to build a large apartment complex with a commercial project on the east side. I was an original signatory on the agreement as Military Affairs Chairman in 2015 and I’m a bit frustrated that we have not been able to get the housing built. Good news is as Mayor I have been deeply involved in pushing the developer to get the agreement with the Air Force finalized and housing built. As we have discussed, housing is a huge problem in our community. With the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) missile system coming, the demand for military housing is going to become critical. A special thanks to Dale Steenbergen from the Chamber for his help in guiding this process to this point. I know this project will happen, just want it to happen sooner rather than later.
If you have a question for me, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.