This past week was terrific for the Collins family. Our son Jac and daughter-in-law Whitney finally had their wedding celebration, and it was fabulous. Judy and I are so excited to have Whitney in our family. One of the best parts is the large group of friends who came to town to participate in the festivities. We loved hanging out with the kids and catching up on everything that had happened in the 10 years since they all graduated. I was surprised by the depth of the emotions that came up during the ceremony. It was a great party, and we look forward to all the future grandbabies!
Our Public Information Officer, Cathyleen, joined me at Meals on Wheels last Friday to help prepare meals. One of the highlights for me was meeting Lloyd and Janet Osborn. It was their last day volunteering after 50 years of assisting Meals on Wheels. I am so impressed every time I stop by Meals on Wheels. They make hundreds of great meals daily and have a dedicated team of volunteers who help ensure homebound folks eat well and have human company—this is an amazing asset to our community!
Another first for me this week was the opportunity to judge a BBQ contest. The FireFest BBQ competition held on the base had 10 teams who prepared ribs and chicken to be judged. I was so stuffed by the end of the event, but also so impressed with the quality of the fair. I now have a new goal to meet as I work to improve my barbecue skills at home, and let me tell you; it’s a wide gap I need to make up. The car show, bands, and food make this an epic event you should consider attending next year. It is open to the public.
Judy and I stopped by the Juneteenth celebration at Martin Luther King Jr.’s Park. You know, I spend a lot of time trying different foods as I go around town, and this event did not disappoint. Paul Harper’s gumbo was fantastic. We wished the rain would have stayed away, but the company was outstanding. Throughout the day, I kept thinking back to the folks in Galveston, Texas, who finally received word that they were free in 1865. I can’t imagine the jubilation they felt at that moment. I appreciate the Cheyenne Chapter of the NAACP for the invite and the message they shared about this federal holiday.
I attended a couple of meetings this week to learn about the plans Coldwell Banker’s team has for the Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) project. The EUL is the housing project I have shared with you that is planned for the base property where Cheyenne Frontier Days currently has off-site parking. We have been working on this project for at least eight years now, and I am excited that the Air Force has finally picked Coldwell Banker as the developer. There is work to do, but the housing and commercial additions will make a big difference in the quality of life for our military members and our community as a whole.
The Harvard Growth Lab was back in town, and I met with them, the Business Council, and the governor’s office to discuss the housing constraints experienced both in our city and statewide. The Harvard team is looking at ways our regulations might be constraining the private sector’s ability to build much-needed housing options. It was interesting to hear about ways they suggested we could remove those barriers. Our planning department team is now looking at the suggestions to see what changes we need to make to our Uniform Development Code.
The plans for rehabbing the Hynds Building are still progressing nicely. I met with a team from the project and found out they had completed their market study. The Hynds has been empty for almost 40 years now, and it is definitely time to see it remodeled and back in service. One thing I knew going into this project was that there would be a funding gap. The developers have walked away for years because they were a few million dollars away from making the project work financially. If we want to fill the Hole and see the Hynds come back to life, it will take a public/private partnership. We are working on the funding stack to see if it’s possible. Stay tuned.
I had breakfast with Project Cosmo, a large business looking to move a facility to Cheyenne. We have been working on this business for over five years now and are so close to hearing a yes. I am so proud of our teams: LEADS, the Board of Public Utilities, and our city departments, especially planning, engineering, and legal. It is nice to see the site selectors as we talk regularly.
FE Warren AFB has a new leader. Colonel Cathy Barrington’s two years in leadership have passed, and Colonel Johnny Galbert has taken command of the Mighty 90. Col. Barrington is headed back to the Pentagon after a very successful time in Cheyenne. I really appreciate the way she invited the business community to be part of the base family. We wish her well in DC. This is Colonel Galbert’s third time being stationed at our base. He is the first African American to lead our base. I know he and his family are excited to be back to where his career started. Welcome home, Johnny!
I was so pleased to attend the Boyd Building’s flag-raising. The owners rehabbed the old flagpole, and now the stars and stripes fly proudly from the top of the building. The East High School Band was there to play patriotic songs and the National Anthem while the flag was raised. I had no idea there were flag poles on the top of some roofs in our downtown. I would love to see more of them restored and the flag flying in the Wyoming breeze.
A quick shout-out to Moniet Flores! She started working for the city 20 years ago, and I met with her to say thanks for her service to our city. She is currently the Operations Manager for our Public Works Department. Our long-term employees’ leadership and institutional knowledge are so important in operating a city our size. Again, thanks, Moniet, for serving us so well.
I played hooky earlier in the week to attend a Rapid Response Team luncheon and to have a few strokes at golf with LEADS. I spoke earlier about Project Cosmo, and this is the team that works so hard to bring jobs to Cheyenne. We had a great lunch and caught up on all the current companies looking at our beautiful city. The mix is so exciting. Later we played a little golf. I love to play golf but have not had much time since getting elected. The weather was amazing, and I loved getting on the links. My game was a bit rusty, but the expectations were not too high, so it was a blast. Thanks, LEADS, for all you are doing to diversify our economy.
Tom Segrave and our City Engineer, Tom Cobb, came by to discuss problems we are having with speeding cars and the noise too many are making. The discussion was mostly about our frustration with vehicles driving too fast, which is unsafe for our neighborhoods. We also talked about the loud motorcycles and vehicles revving up their engines and making it difficult to sleep on warm nights. The big question is, how can we slow the traffic to safe speeds and get drivers to be respectful???
The team from State Parks also came by to visit and to give an update on our plan to make the Arboretum a State Park. Remember, the Arboretum is a historical place where trees were tested for compatibility in our high desert conditions. One-hundred years later, many of the test trees are still there, and we want to preserve the history so future generations can enjoy them. So far, the plan is progressing very well, and I look forward to visiting with the legislature this fall to garner their support.
Happy Independence Day weekend! I hope you have a safe and happy holiday and enjoy the firework display courtesy of the City of Cheyenne and Frontier Days.
If you have a question or comment for me, please email email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer your questions or concerns in the following Mayor’s Minute column.