The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins

My week started off with a meeting on rehabilitating the old Pumphouse, one of the four priorities City Council identified at their annual goal setting session. I asked Dale from the Chamber of Commerce to have coffee to discuss our goal of finding a long-term tenant to occupy the Pumphouse and keep it alive. I appreciated his counsel and ideas. It is such a cool old building that really needs a lot of love. I saw a picture of what the restored building would look like, and it is beautiful.

Cheyenne is blessed to have commercial air service with a twice daily flight in and out flown by Sky West. I love the flight as it is so much nicer than driving I-25 and fighting the parking and security mess at the airport in Denver. Wendy Volk and the CRAFT team stopped by to share the successes and to discuss the MRG (minimum revenue guarantee) that is required to keep our commercial air service. The city and county each pay CRAFT to help with the contract payment to the airline to keep our air service. For the next fiscal year, that cost will be $400,000 for each of us. While I hate having to pay for air service, if we don’t pay, we will not have service. I believe reliable air service is essential to our economic development efforts and is a quality-of-life benefit for our residents who fly.

I joined a lunch with Councilman Rinne and Commissioners Thompson and Malm. The city and county are both in our budget processes, but the city starts our process much earlier than the county because of different due dates in state law. The challenge is we partner in a few important agencies with some being county agencies and some under the city. We agreed we need to get together earlier in the year with the directors of these joint agencies to work out our budget requests so both of our process’ timelines can be met. It is so nice to have a positive relationship with our counterparts in the county. It has not always been that way.

I was invited to the base to see the F.E. Warren 1st Quarter Wing Awards Ceremony. Each group in the wing puts up their top performer in a number of categories. Each group has a chant and so much spirit letting us hear them. This quarter the Security Forces Group was the host and they killed it. The base celebrates their successes and recognizes their top performers very well. It was a blast.

Chief Mittlestadt is the fire chief for Laramie County Fire District #1. He stopped by and met with me, our Chief Kopper, and Deputy Chief Dykshorn. We discussed the challenges faced by both the city and LCFD#1. As the city has expanded into areas formerly served by LCFD#1, the revenue they get to provide fire protection has been reduced. I still don’t know how we are going to grow as a city and help the county fire district flourish. The good news is we are having these discussions early with the hopes a good plan can be put into place.

We all know we have a need to build more housing in Cheyenne. I met with New Horizon Development to learn about their plan to build 311 1- and 2-bedroom row homes along I-80 in south Cheyenne. The first phase of 95 units is underway; however, we need to find a solution to provide sewer for the remaining 216 homes. Although BOPU does not have sewer in the area, South Cheyenne Water and Sewer District (SCWSD) has a line along the southern border of the development with available capacity. As the city and SCWSD have grown together, I think it is imperative that we find a way to have the two groups cooperate to help developers build more housing and businesses. The city, BOPU, and SCWSD met this week and explored ways to make this cooperation happen. New Horizon is planning to invest $60 million in this housing project if we can find a way to provide sewer service.

I have shared how much I enjoy meeting long-term employees. We had two of our folks hit the 30 years of service mark this week. Steve Gear started in 1994 in our Parks Department and eventually became the boss of the folks who take care of our 50 buildings. His wife and daughter joined us, and it was so nice to meet his family. Joan Baker also started in 1994 in the IT Department, then transferred to the Special Projects Division, and today works in the City Clerk’s office. Their 30 years of service and institutional knowledge make them such valuable members of our team. I really do appreciate the opportunity to personally thank them for their service to our residents.

It’s hard to believe, but the United States of America will turn 250 years old in 2026. That sounds like a great excuse to plan a huge birthday party and an opportunity to remind our residents about the amazing group of people who helped found our country. I met with Nathaniel Trelease and Amber Ash for coffee and to start the conversation on how we should plan our Cheyenne celebration. 2026 will be here before we know it and I feel better knowing we are starting the process.

Thursday afternoon was one of those great days that I will remember for years to come. It started at the Boys and Girls Club. Black Hills Energy, Microsoft, NextEra Energy, and Southern Power have collaborated to bring renewable energy to Cheyenne to power the growing data center industry. They also collaborated to give the Boys and Girls Club $1.3 million to help the club change the trajectory of the lives of the kids who they are honored to serve. Wow! It was an amazing ceremony to take part in.

Next, the Day of Giving Youth Day was happening at the Kiwanis Community House. The Mayor’s Youth Council was volunteering to sort and box the amazing amount of goods donated. I was helping Molly box food for Safe House, and it made us think about the families that leave a domestic situation with just the cloths on their back. These donations make such a difference in helping the families find a safe place and hopefully a new and fulfilling life. Cheyenne again came out with truckloads of donations for many local nonprofits that really need support these days.

The last event of the evening was the open house for the new MHP offices at 1509 Bent Ave. I loved hearing comments like, “I can’t believe this is in Cheyenne.” They took a 100-year-old warehouse that was literally sagging and turned it into a state-of-the-art office where the historic beams, brick, and ceiling honor the past and the new glass and wood offices create an amazing workspace. They were awarded the LeClercq Jones award for their adaptive reuse of the old warehouse. Congratulations MHP on your award and thank you for your investment in our downtown.

Wishing all the moms a Happy Mother’s Day. I miss my mom and would encourage you to hug yours if you can.