The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – April 7th

Published on April 07, 2023

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CHEYENNE – My kids grew up playing hockey at our local Ice and Events Center. It dominated our family life for a number of years, and we loved it. This week we met with the Commissioner of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), a junior hockey league that would like to bring a team to our rink. We shared our number one priority will always be in the interest of Cheyenne’s Capitals Youth Hockey Program. Nonetheless, if we can work with the junior league team and protect our local youth program at the same time, I would love to welcome this hockey team to Cheyenne for our residents to cheer on. I will keep you informed as I learn more. 

FE Warren Air Force Base has flown the venerable Huey helicopter for decades now. While it is a great airframe, it doesn’t quite meet the mission’s requirements of today. Therefore, the Air Force has selected the MH-139 Grey Wolf as the replacement for the 37th Helicopter Squadron. However, the Grey Wolf is too big to fit into the current maintenance facilities, so a new facility will need to be built. I attended the groundbreaking for the new facility on a cold and very windy day this week. It is exciting to see investments made to improve our airmen’s ability to perform their duties. Eighteen months from now, we should have a date for a future groundbreaking. 

In the same fashion, I have been getting more and more excited about the opportunity our High Plains Arboretum will bring to Cheyenne. Lately, we have had several groups step forward to inquire about helping to bring the Arboretum back to life. Randy Byers is a local architect who has a love for the place and the vision for what it could be. I enjoyed hearing that vision and look forward to working with him to make it happen. 

Cheyenne Frontier Days has a parking problem. As of today, it is our hope that the former off-site parking lot will be converted into a new housing area for our airmen and residents to enjoy. However, that leaves the question, where will our guests park for CFD? A few years ago, the base closed its golf course, opening an opportunity for nearby parking. The legislature committed up to $4 million to help with the vision of a new parking area and a bridge over I-25 to make it easy for visitors to access our amazing rodeo. We are now in the planning stage, and I can’t wait for the day when it is finished. As a representative of our fair city, it is important to improve the visitor’s experience.

Governor Gordon called me to discuss the local events that take place along Capitol Avenue with hopes of improving the coordination between the state and the city. I appreciate the opportunity to work together. I’m working with our team and residents who do events near the capitol complex. It is a beautiful area, and we look forward to more partnerships in the future.

I had the pleasure of reading a city proclamation at the Cheyenne Board of Realtors’ luncheon for Fair Housing Month. I’m proud that they have taken on this issue and enjoyed their training on diversity, inclusion, equity, and the sense of belonging. Our future depends on welcoming a workforce from all backgrounds and races. I know the people of Cheyenne to be welcoming and gracious when it comes to embracing new folks into our community. Gosh, I love this city. 

We have a small group of employees who work with our HR department to oversee our employees’ benefits. We met this week to review our first year being self-insured, and to determine the cost of insurance for the next fiscal year that starts July 1. The great news is our employee group did a great job managing their use of health care, and we will have a minimal increase in the cost of insurance next year. This will definitely help our budgeting process. 

I had not heard of the Inns of Court group before Thursday evening. It is a group of lawyers and judges who meet to mentor and learn more about the law. I was invited to their meeting along with Tom Montoya from the Wyoming Liquor Division to talk about the recently passed Entertainment Liquor License. Tom spoke about the licenses available in Wyoming, and I shared the state of the liquor business in Cheyenne. The passing of the Entertainment License will allow Ace’s Range, a golf simulator business opening soon on 15th Street, many restaurants and other fun places to be successful in our city. Again, I appreciate the work of the Corporation’s Committee and the Legislature in getting this license legislation passed.

At lunch this week, I got an update on the progress of the Hynds Building. I can report that progress is being made and that the new owners are excited to get the planning stage completed to start construction. Getting the Hynds Building and the “hole” rebuilt and alive is going to be such a big deal for our downtown. I’m looking forward to the architectural drawings and seeing their vision for the new building. From previous columns as well as today’s, it’s easy to see I’m their biggest cheerleader!

Speaking of economic development, LEADS owns a couple of business parks within the city; and helps both the county and city fill vacant buildings with businesses where needed. One challenge we still struggle with is what level of landscaping is appropriate for an industrial business park. I met with LEADS and the city planning team to discuss that question. I think we left with the idea that we need some level of landscaping with tree plantings and other amenities, but our current rules are not working. I would invite you to drive by the new Microsoft Data Center near the Christensen Overpass to see what our current regulations look like when implemented. We are talking about a Common Landscape Plan that would make our regulations more appropriate for the industrial areas of our city. Again, more work is necessary, but I feel we are on the right track.

This week was dominated by budget meetings with our department heads. I met with our treasurer, police chief, human resources, city clerk, community recreation and events, compliance, IT, public works, planning, engineering, and youth alternatives directors. I spent an hour with each department head to understand their budget priorities and future needs. Now the hard part is to prioritize each department’s needs with our limited available resources. The next step is to present a balanced budget to the City Council. 

To end the week, I met Todd Parfitt and Jennifer Zygmunt from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to ask how we can use their resources to better our city. I would like to find the resources to study the city’s quality of air for pollution and contamination. Information collected from that study could then be used to help us look for grants to remediate the areas and get them ready for development. I think DEQ could be part of the answer, and I appreciate the time they took to educate me on what they can bring to the table. Cleaning up our city for future generations is a worthy goal. 

I wish you all a blessed Easter weekend, and I hope you get to spend it with those who matter most to you!

If you have a question or comment for me, please, send an email to I’ll continue to answer your questions or concerns in the following Mayor’s Minute column.