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CHEYENNE – During the Wyoming Planning Association (WyoPASS) Annual Fall Conference last week in Douglas, the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was awarded Plan of the Year for an Urban Project for their efforts on the Reed Avenue Rail Corridor Master Plan.
The Reed Avenue Rail Corridor Master Plan, funded and managed by the Cheyenne MPO, focused on minimizing the revitalization barriers associated with the condition of the Reed Avenue 80-foot right-of-way and is intent on positioning the corridor for the return of economic prosperity. The Cheyenne MPO worked on the master plan in collaboration with the City of Cheyenne Engineer Department to address barriers related to seasonal flooding through four storm water improvement projects along with the City’s Planning Department for proposed rezoning of the area to diminish the regulatory barriers associated with the lack of economic drivers.
As stated in the MPO’s award application, the purpose of the master plan was to establish a community-supported design concept, cost estimates, and an action plan for Reed Avenue’s 80-foot right-of-way to aid with revitalization efforts for the West Edge District and Downtown Cheyenne.
The plan developed a 30 percent design concept for Reed Avenue set forth to empower a vibrant multi-use corridor, to safely co-exist with rail operations, and to celebrate the West Edge’s historic and industrial themes.
The Reed Avenue Rail Corridor Plan is a product of years of extensive study focused on revitalizing the area. In 2014, the City’s Historic West Edge Reimagined plan established a “Visionary Blueprint” calling for a shift from an underperforming, primarily industrial landscape to a more vibrant mixed employment, commercial, and residential district. A subsequent West Edge Area Wide Plan was completed in 2016, establishing an action plan to implement the district’s vision. The West Edge Area Wide Plan identified strategies for overcoming three key physical, psychological, and economic barriers to the area’s revitalization: the railroad, seasonal flooding, and a lack of economic drivers.
Created in 1971, the Wyoming Planning Association is an organization of professional and laymen planners who are involved in planning activities which affect the physical, economic, and social well-being of Wyoming residents. The Association was formed for the purposes of advocating planning programs, to preserve the quality of life in Wyoming, to facilitate coordination and cooperation between planners, and to provide continuing education opportunities. For more information, visit www.wyopass.org.
About the WyoPASS Urban Project Plan of the Year award
The WyoPASS Urban Project Plan of the Year recognizes an outstanding planning project for a jurisdiction with a large population base, which project promotes solid planning principles and practices that lead to results. The award is open to cities with a population over 4,000 and counties with populations over 25,000 and must be a completed project plan or include an implementation schedule along with documentation of financial commitment, citizen involvement and community support for the project.
About The West Edge District
In the early twentieth century, the City of Cheyenne granted an easement to Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to build and operate a rail corridor within Reed Avenue’s 80-foot right-of-way. Rail service within Reed Avenue enabled many businesses to ship and receive goods via the railway. Properties adjoining the rail corridor became some of Cheyenne’s first and more successful industrial land uses.
Unfortunately, over time, many of the industrial properties in the Reed Avenue Corridor declined as industrial activity and its dependency on rail service declined in preference for the trucking industry and locations closer to the State and Federal Highway Systems. Today, the West Edge District, once one of Cheyenne’s leading industrial areas, is underperforming and in need of a new economic identity.