The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins

My week started with a very fun event. I was asked by our Visit Cheyenne director, Domenic Bravo, to welcome the One West Tourism Alliance to Cheyenne. The Alliance is made up of the tourism directors from many western communities. I was excited to meet the group and thank them for their efforts to market our communities and for the amazing events they promote and develop. Tourism is our state’s No. 2 industry. Their efforts fill our hotel rooms, support our restaurants, increase the revenue of our attractions, inspire many small businesses, and create opportunities for new small businesses. It was great that they got to see and tour our beautiful city. They all got cowboy hats and attended the Hell on Wheels Rodeo, most getting their first rodeo experience.

Our Engineering Department is very busy, especially during this time of year. Tom Cobb, our city engineer, attended a city council work session to give us an update on all things engineering:

  • We heard more on the 15th Street Rail Experience Project that is designed to share a bit of our railroad history by displaying a few historic cars and an 1890 steam locomotive between 15th Street and the railroad. We are currently finalizing the plans and I can’t wait to beautify the area and bring our rail history to life.
  • Reed Avenue is a dirt road with a train track down the middle. We have a vision of adding a Greenway-style pedestrian corridor, outdoor seating, lighting, landscaping, and decorative fencing to bring the area to life. There are 100-year-old empty warehouses that could come back to use as distilleries, restaurants, or fun shops that would make the Reed Avenue Corridor a destination on our West Edge. After years of negotiations, we have an agreement with the BNSF to get started on this project. We still have some more details to work on with the BNSF, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • One big safety concern for our community is flooding. I remember 1985 and I don’t want to ever see another disaster like that one. Mr. Cobb shared the status on a city council goal of creating a comprehensive storm water mitigation program. We are almost there – on July 12 he is scheduled to present the final plan.
  • The last presentation was on the Belvoir Ranch. Construction has begun on the new trail system designed for walkers, hikers, and cyclists. This phase will see 6.7 miles of trails constructed and should be completed late this fall. We have two more phases that include building the trailhead with parking and finishing the trail system resulting in 17 miles of new trails.

I have been meeting with Andy Seed who works for an affordable housing developer in Colorado. They use a program to help finance construction that is not currently being used in Wyoming. We are exploring opportunities to replicate their success here in Cheyenne. It looks like it will be tougher here due to lower rental rates, but not impossible. I really appreciate Andy and others who have spent so much time helping me understand their industry. It is my hope that we will eventually be able to reward them with programs that will allow them to build here like they currently do in other states. We need affordable housing.

I love eating Chef Juan Coronado’s food. Katbird Studio hosted a Farm to Table Epicurean Experience in the arena of CFD where Juan was the chef. Oh baby! The menu was an amuse bouche, steelhead trout, Harding Ranch ribeye and Palisade Peach melba over Josie’s Creamery ice cream for dessert. Each was paired with the perfect wine. Judy and I loved the company and left impressed at what is grown and raised in our county and how it can be transformed into a dream dinner in the hands of a professional chef. Thanks Stephan!

I brag about our team of employees all the time. I am sure some people get tired of it, but here I go again. Our CRE team put on Superday in Lions Park again Saturday. The weather cooperated and the crowd was huge. I don’t think the park has ever looked better. Judy and I walked the entire park. I think the best things for me were the City parks display and the obstacle course they made for the kids. I really loved the laughs and squeals from the kids riding all the carnival style rides. I am so proud of the “all hands-on deck effort” all our city teams made to bring Superday to all of you.

I spoke earlier about our trail development on the Belvoir Ranch. We met with the folks from Larimer County, Colorado, who developed and manage the trails on the Colorado side of the state line. Meegan & Daylan shared best practices, things they wished they would have done, and their excitement that our trail system will eventually tie into their system. It was interesting to learn how extensive their open space development is in Larimer County. They have 14 open spaces. One thing I am excited about is our pond on the ranch is connected to the stream and ponds on their Red Mountain Open Space. They would like to reintroduce the greenback cutthroat trout. Apparently, the greenback can’t compete with other trout species, and if their efforts are to be successful, we all need to agree to participate.

A highlight moment this week was the press conference where we announced an arrest in the double homicides of George Manley and Dwight Brockman. I am so happy the families of Mr. Manley and Mr. Brockman will finally get some closure. I want to thank the detectives who spent 1,500 hours over the past 14 months investigating this cold case. They could have given the file a cursory glance, but they chose to take a different mindset and fresh approach that resulted in seeing the facts in a new light and led to Tuesday’s arrest. I want to also share my appreciation for our District Attorney. I know old cases are much harder to prosecute, but Sylvia Hackl signed on to take the case and help the families find some solace by filing charges. After 8 years and 11 months we finally know who committed the Coin Shop murders and I hope we will also learn why this tragedy happened.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Casper with a team of city employees to attend the Wyoming Business Council’s A2A planning workshop. It stands for Assessment to Action, and it is designed to allow a small group of people, taking small steps, to make big impacts. Ms. Power did a great job of leading us through the exercises. On the way back from Casper, Amber and I were already thinking about other challenges that could benefit from the A2A process. Our team chose to look at the Belvoir Ranch and what development should be contemplated on the ranch. It is a 90-day process, and I will give you updates as we make progress. Paul, Renee, Amber, Charles, Daunte, and I will be spending a lot of time together, and I am excited to be working with them.

It is hard to believe that this year is half over. I feel like I am just getting into the summer swing. I am trying to remind myself to take the time to enjoy the nice weather and I hope you are making the same effort!