The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins

The Legislature is in town and on the Friday before the session Dr. Joe Shaffer hosted a group of local organizations with our invited legislative delegation. I was so pleased that Senators Evie Brennan, Stephan Pappas, Affie Ellis and Tara Nethercott; and Representatives Bill Henderson, Dave Zwonitzer, Dan Zwonitzer, Bob Nicholas, and Ben Hornok all gave a couple hours of their time to share the priorities for the upcoming session. The consensus of the group is we need to meet together more frequently. I really do appreciate the service our legislators give to our community and state.

Economic development is a huge priority for our city and for me personally. One key player in this effort is the team from LEADS. I had lunch with Betsey and Keith to get an update and discuss the city’s partnership. It is amazing to see the number of data centers locating in Cheyenne and to hear about the manufacturing companies looking to relocate. I believe Cheyenne is the envy of the state when it comes to economic development due to the amazing work of all our partners here in Laramie County.

We had a piece of bad news this week. A flyer was sent to one of our residents with a racist message. It had a headline of “White Lives Matter.” While the postmark was from Oakland, California, it was still very disappointing to read the hateful message. I truly believe Cheyenne people are better than this, but I would again ask all of Cheyenne’s residents to be vigilant. There is no place for racism in our community.

I have written a lot about our efforts to build a Community Solar Project on the closed section of our landfill. We met with folks from Black Hills Energy and Rocky Mountain Institute to discuss our progress and to answer some of the technical questions about the proposed partnership. One of the best parts of this whole process has been the amazing cooperation and support from everyone we have asked to help. Renee Smith from our city team and Councilman Segrave have been driving this project and I hope we will see solar panels on the landfill in the next couple of years.

It looks like we will have six different campuses with data centers being constructed all at the same time. Amazing! Projects like this stress our building department and inspection staff. It takes a while to find the folks with their special skills to man our building department. I met with our chief building official and compliance director to talk about the upcoming projects and the staffing we will need to keep up with the demands of this amazing development. I shared with them that it is a great problem to have too much work and the need to add staff to keep up.

We received some bad news at the legislature this week. HB-0084 was written to support taking our High Plains Arboretum and making it a State Historic Site. I have shared my enthusiastic support for the partnership between the city and state to make sure the historic trees are saved and the incredible story about how plant explorers went all over the world to find trees that would thrive in our state. It failed introduction in the House of Representatives by one vote and coincidently only one Laramie County legislator voted no. It is an important project and we will work over the interim to educate the legislators with the hopes we can get it passed next year.

I always brag about volunteerism in Cheyenne. This week Frank Magazine stopped by to introduce himself and ask what he could do to help our city. He recently retired and has time and experience to share. I teased his wife might have encouraged him to get a bit of alone time. Cheyenne is an amazing place and I appreciate all that step up and help.

The Bell Building is the historic structure that is next to the old Grier building and currently has windows covered with large pieces of plywood. It is not the best look but I have good news. I had lunch with the new owners and they have plans to replace all 40 windows and restore the façade. I was shocked to learn the cost is $500,000. Grants from the DDA and Joint Powers Board will help the owners get the upgrades done. This is a beautiful old building and I am looking forward to the new reveal. Found a new lunch place in the process – Bronx Pizza. Loved the cheese steak hoagie.

The Department of Defense has a DCIP grant that is awarded to communities to pay for infrastructure that supports the base and its mission. Our grants manager and I went to the base to see what projects they have that would qualify for the grant. I love the old brick homes and buildings that are approaching 150 years old. I know they are a nightmare to maintain but they sure are beautiful. I hope we can find a worthy project and can successfully fund it with this grant.

Bob McClarin from the Wyoming Association of Municipalities stopped by to give me an update on their legislative priorities and it gave me a chance to lobby for some of the things we are concerned about. The budget session is only 20 days and the pace of legislation makes it hard to keep up. Having WAM and the other municipalities all working together makes keeping up a bit easier.

Date night for Valentine’s Day was the movie “One Love” about Bob Marley. I have always admired his music, but after the movie Judy and I are now big fans. Have a great weekend!