The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins

The growth we see on the base is good for Cheyenne and the future of our Air Force base. I met with our BOPU and base personnel to make sure we have the sewer capacity to handle the new facilities currently under construction and future building designated to support the new Sentinel missile operations. The good news is we have the capacity for the new helicopter facility being built to house the new MH-139 Grey Wolf coming soon to replace the venerable Huey.

I had a gentleman inquire about the historic Plains Hotel. I asked the owner, Astrid, if we could get a tour and she gave us an amazing one-hour trip through this beautiful piece of Cheyenne’s history. We walked from the roof to the basement, and I fell in love with the Plains all over again. I wish I could go back and see the hotel in its heyday and meet the historical figures that played such an important part in our city’s development.

I was scheduled to travel with Dale from the Chamber of Commerce to meet with the Commanding Officer of the Global Strike Command. We flew from Cheyenne to Denver and were scheduled to fly to Shreveport later in the afternoon. Unfortunately, Shreveport had high winds and tornado warnings and our flight was cancelled. Luckily, we were able to catch the 9:00 flight back home. Not the way I wanted to spend my day off. Hopefully we can reschedule on a better weather day in Louisiana.

Spring and early summer is PCS time at F.E. Warren – a time when the commanding officers in many of the groups and squadrons are transferred to other bases, and new commanding officers are transferred in to take charge. I get many invitations to attend the change of command ceremonies and try to make as many as the schedule allows. This week saw Major Josh Hight give command of the 90th Security Forces Squadron to Major Jace Yuhas. The 90th SFS handles the security on the base proper. I always get emotional as the commanders give thanks to the folks they worked with and to their family members. Wishing Josh success at the Air Force Academy where he will command the security efforts on the Academy, and to Jace and the continued success of the 90th SFS.

With the cost of buying a home getting so expensive, your city council has been making changes to our regulations to allow developers more flexibility in way they build future housing. Habitat for Humanity has acquired a lot and they stopped by to share a design to build four connected row homes on the site. I have to admit that this creative design and density makes sense and follows what the city council envisioned. It is exciting to think four families will be getting a life changing opportunity to own their own home.

The Reed Avenue project envisions the dirt road with a railroad track running down the middle being reborn with a Greenway path, outdoor seating, and a transformation of the empty buildings into active breweries, restaurants, and shops. Chief Kopper and I met with the owners of Westby Edge to learn about their experience as one of the first businesses to open on the planned right-of-way. The challenge I think every business in downtown faces is parking. It was good to hear how they are addressing parking and how the city might be able to help. Their new building is awesome.

Wednesday was epic for me. Amber Ash came to work in the office as our new Chief of Staff. We have been shorthanded since Andy retired to focus on his speaking business, and I am excited to have Amber join our team. The mayor’s office is busy and being back at full staff will be a game changer.

Our municipal court is a very busy place, unfortunately. The judges and staff took a couple of days off to host the state conference of municipal courts at The Metropolitan. I was pleased to greet the attendees from across the state and share a warm welcome to Cheyenne. Our municipal courts are an important part of setting and enforcing our community standards. I am pleased they chose Cheyenne for their conference and that our staff made time to participate.

Rocky Case is a past city council member, and it was a blast to have him back at city hall to share the mission of his current employer, Manufacturing Works. They are housed at the University of Wyoming and funded by the Department of Commerce. Their mission is a home run for Cheyenne and Wyoming, assisting Wyoming manufacturers and producers of every size to improve their success by helping with customized support. LEADS has shared their focus on family-owned manufacturing, and it is awesome to have an agency dedicated to helping make sure they are successful.

The city council has made the stabilization of the old Pumphouse a priority. I have been a bit resistant to spend money on this cool old building unless we have a purpose for the use of the Pumphouse. I met with Randy and Amber from TDSi to learn what businesses the potential floorplans for the building could support. I was excited to see the potential and now we will be working to find a tenant to help us bring this building back to life. TDSi shared a rendering of what the restored building could look like – beautiful. If you don’t know, the Pumphouse is just south of Lincolnway on Ames Avenue. It is in rough shape, but with some love it could come back to life.

The Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board gives the Dubois Award each year to a homeowner that has done an exceptional job of restoring and maintaining a home in the historic districts of our city. Elizabeth Rader was honored for her beautifully restored home on 22nd Street. Judy and I loved touring this gorgeous home and thanking her for her stewardship of this historic beauty.

I have some inside information on the lineup for this summer’s Fridays on the Plaza concert season. When Jason told me they were going to do a special dinner for the sponsors who make Fridays on the Plaza happen, I invited Judy and myself. Partially because we heard Avanti’s was catering the event and we miss their Italian food, but mostly because I wanted to thank the sponsors. I know how hard our team works to bring this concert series to all of us, but without the sponsorship investment, it just would not happen. It was a magical night where the stage of the Civic Center was transformed into an Italian Bistro. The video showing the upcoming concert lineup gets me excited for Fridays this summer.

Congresswoman Hageman took my call on Thursday, and I appreciated the opportunity to share some of the projects we are working on and the infrastructure challenges we are facing. I mainly wanted to thank her for the help in finally getting the VA to acknowledge the new Cheyenne National Cemetery is not ADA accessible for handicapped veterans. They now promise to make the necessary upgrades to bring the site into compliance. It has taken two years and the Congresswoman to finally get them to do the right thing. Thanks ma’am.

The folks who work at the hospital can sure make salsa. I was a judge for their salsa making contest and got to try 13 amazing salsas. I left with clear sinuses and a new admiration for their culinary skills. Chef Juan from the Railspur was a great guide to the different flavors and ingredients. I need more of their salsas for Cinco de Mayo.