Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – November 11
I love how a chance meeting turns into something meaningful. Last Thursday, I was attending a dinner at the Rib and Chop House where I met a few of our military friends. They were there to have dinner with Chief Master Sergeant Don Pedro. CMS Pedro is the Senior Enlisted Leader for the Air Force and Space Force for Diversity and Inclusion. With our recent race challenges, I wanted to pick his brain. We had a great breakfast, and we now have another resource to consult with, and I have a new favorite breakfast at the Epic Egg.
It seems like we have had more requests for city water and sewer services from folks in the county. The proposed gold mine west of the city is one on the industrial side, and we have a few pending applications from residential developers. Historically, we have just taken them as they come and made the decision based solely on our water and sewer availability. We met with a team from the Board of Public Utilities (BOPU) to talk about creating some criteria for granting these outside user agreements. I want to ensure we clearly understand the benefits and costs of outside user agreements.
I like celebrations, and we had one last Friday afternoon. Nick Morgan was promoted to the rank of sergeant on our police force. It was great to see family, friends, and co-workers come together to support Nick. Our police department has a vigorous training program to get officers ready for promotion, and Nick is the latest example of that program’s success.
Friday was my wife’s birthday. It was a great day; we spent the morning walking the dog, the afternoon holding our grandson, dinner at the Metropolitan, and we ended the night singing and dancing at the Commodores concert. The highlight of it all was the band singing, “Three Times a Lady” to Judy. We danced for hours, reminiscing the days of our youth and it was awesome to hear them live. They put on an amazing show!
Saturday evening, we attended a gala to benefit the Community Action of Laramie County (CALC). CALC is a non-profit organization that works to help folks in poverty here and in Laramie County. They have the Crossroads Clinic providing health care for low-income and homeless, transitional housing for veterans, kinship services for grandparents raising grandkids, summer farmers market, self-sufficiency (to pay for utilities, eyeglasses, food, etc.), and a program to help seniors clean their homes. We had a lot of fun, and CALC raised a lot of needed money to support their programs.
Dyno Nobel has been an employer of choice in Cheyenne for many years now. I really did not know much about what they manufacture or do. Lars came by the office to tell me about their business and to get support for a grant application to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to help expand the facility so they can produce more fertilizer. Dyno’s main business is providing explosives to the coal mines. We know the coal business is slowly declining year after year and we are excited they are looking to grow other parts of their business to support the 190 great employees who work there. I am looking forward to a tour to see the operation firsthand and meet the folks working there.
We are in the process of annexing and zoning a new business park south of College Drive and west of Greeley Highway. There are 1,280 acres that LEADS can use to bring new primary jobs to our town. A group of folks from LEADS, BOPU, city planning, city engineering, and the mayor’s office met to go over how to serve the park with water, sewer, roads, and other development requirements. I love these meetings where all the team members are focused on how to make deals happen while protecting the city and current utility users. We should have the annexation done on Monday, and we hope to announce a new business sometime next year. Fingers crossed!!
Our city team has many folks who have worked for the city for decades. I enjoy having these team members visit the office, where I can thank them for their long service to the community. David Schindler has worked for our forestry department for 35 years now. It was nice getting to know him and learning how our forestry department has grown over the decades. Our urban forestry division has grown over the years and our team to take care of the trees has also. David is now the forestry foreman and takes such pride in managing our urban forest here in the capitol city. Thank you, sir, for all you do to make our city livable and beautiful.
I keep meeting with folks to discuss how we can improve our affordable housing situation. This week I met with John Edwards whose family has been in the home-building business for decades. He came up with an idea for how Cheyenne might be able to create more housing units for those struggling to afford rent. We had a great discussion on how we can work together. What I have come to learn is this affordable housing issue is going to be really tough to solve, and that is where having partners who share the passion are invaluable. I appreciate John and everyone else who is working on this housing issue.
BOPU has a team that works in the Industrial Pretreatment Program. This program is aimed at making sure that stuff does not get put into our sewer system that could clog it up or could cause pollutants our system can’t clean, which would eventually end up in the stream. Nathaniel and Jake took me to the base where I could watch how they inspect a facility to observe compliance with the pretreatment program. I have been in basements where the sewer has backed up and it is awful! This program to inspect grease traps, oil collectors, and the like is designed to prevent these catastrophic events. I am looking forward to our next inspection.
Habitat for Humanity was donated a piece of property that would allow them to build up to 14 homes on the site. The problem is the site does not have an easy sewer connection. I met with the team from Habitat to tour the site. After meeting with our BOPU, I think we just might be able to get sewer to the site and see 14 affordable homes get built. Hopefully, another success story in the making.
General Porter and members of our National Guard came to the city building to give a brief on the upcoming Vigilant Guard exercise. This is a massive exercise to test our military, state, and local response to catastrophic events that could happen in our state. I love the idea that we will practice our responses so we can perfect it for when it really matters.
Veterans Day is a time to remember those who have served our country in our armed forces. I was invited to Sunrise Elementary School to watch and be a part of their Veterans Day Concert, as I lead the audience in the pledge of allegiance. The kids did such a great job with five of them well dressed like each branch of our armed services. They narrated the show and were just awesome! When they sang “America the Beautiful,” I sang along until I got choked up. They had a huge crowd to watch and thank our veterans for their service to our country.
To all of you who have worn the uniform of our country, thank you for defending our constitution and protecting our way of life!
If you have a question or comment for me, please send an email to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer your questions or concerns in the following Mayor’s Minute column.