The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – August 19th
Published on August 19, 2022
CHEYENNE – This has been one of the most monumental weekends of my life! Judy and I are so happy to announce that we became first-time grandparents last Saturday. Our son Jac and his wife Whitney had an 8-pound 8-ounce baby boy named Chels Leo Collins. He is healthy in all aspects, despite the need for oxygen to help his lungs develop. This is such an exciting time for our family and especially for Jac and Whitney. We now have four generations of Collins men alive, to share their stories and experiences, within our family. Mom and dad are both doing well, except for a bit of sleep deprivation; I remember those days!
Sam Galeotos is a local businessman and someone I look forward to meeting with. I appreciate his wise counsel and advice on issues and politics. We met this week to discuss growth in the county and city and the need for more housing for our residents. What I really appreciate is the fact that we can disagree on certain issues, but always have a great conversation and walk away looking forward to seeing each other the next time. He and Stacy are making great investments in our city, and I appreciate their vision and passion for the state of Wyoming.
I love golf!! Since becoming mayor, I don’t get on the links as much as I used to, but Saturday was the city employee’s golf tournament held at the airport golf course. First, I would like to compliment our crew at the golf course. It was in great condition and very fun to play on. Our airport golf course sees 70,000 rounds a year, and it amazes me that it can be in such great condition with that level of play. Second, it was a blast to get out with the guys and play golf. I was a bit rusty but made up for it with my enthusiasm. Tony, Ronn, and Tom, thanks for making my Saturday so much fun. We did finish in the middle of the pack at 8 under par.
I believe we can accomplish so much more when we work together. With that in mind, our relationship with the city of Casper has been fun and so beneficial. I spoke with Carter Napier, the city manager again this week to discuss the interim topics before the legislature this summer. We have affordable housing and liquor licenses coming to the Corporations’ Committee next week and we had time to discuss what has been proposed and what more we would like to see that would make our cities better. We also talked about water and how essential it is in our ability to grow and prosper in the future. I look forward to my trip to Casper next week and spending time with the legislators and Carter.
Tuesday was going to be another morning of golf with the annual LEADS golf tournament. Unfortunately, a kidney stone had another idea. I feel bad for letting my team down, but some things just can’t be overcome.
More lightly, I met with a gentleman who has several hotels in Cheyenne. It was very interesting to learn about this industry and how decisions are made to build new projects. You may have seen the concrete poured next to the old Hitching Post location. I learned it will become a new Hampton Inn, and the owners are waiting for the cost to build to come down before completing the project. Laramie County is the third highest in the state for overnight hotel stays. With more hotels, we can become number two and then compete with Teton County for the top spot. Boy, do I love competition.
Bryan and Sara Pedersen hosted a reception in their front yard to thank folks who have been instrumental in helping the United Way. Their family is taking on the campaign this year and I am so proud of the way they have gotten started. Mad Flavors food truck made us dinner and it was some of the best tacos I have ever eaten. 2 Legs Brewery provided the adult beverages, and take my advice, you have to try the Dad Bod, it was amazing.
At this month’s LEADS board meeting, we had a site selector whose job is to help companies find locations for their businesses. I was pleased to learn how he felt Cheyenne is in a great position to capture future growth and new businesses. According to his findings, two interstates, rail, and being at the north end of the front range, all should help LEADS become more successful. Another item he brought up was being a red state, which helps companies feel comfortable with future taxes and predictability. LEADS has 36 prospects they are currently working with, and our future looks very strong indeed.
Chris Navarro is a noted Wyoming artist. I think I shared his vision to convert retired blades from wind turbines into large pieces of art. When I first saw his proposals, I immediately thought of LCCC, due to their wind turbine program. Chris and I met with the Board of Trustees to show them the vision and ask for their consideration to place a piece on the campus. I liked their enthusiasm and have hopes we will soon have one of his magnificent pieces in our beautiful city.
Rod and Deb Hottle came to Cheyenne many years ago with the Air Force. He retired as a colonel, and they decided to make Cheyenne their home. He became the General Chairman of Frontier Days and spent the last 19 years working for the United Way. They got a call from their daughter and grandchildren about coming east and moving closer to them. We said goodbye to this amazing couple this week, said thank you for all they have done for our community, and wished them happiness with their move. Thanks for everything, you guys!
When I think of gold mines, I think back to 100 years ago when the gold rush took a sweep across our nation. It looks like we may have a gold rush in Laramie County soon. It seems there are gold reserves between Cheyenne and Laramie and a company is working hard to permit a mine to extract the minerals. The impact on the state, county, and city will be impressive. It may be premature, but it is very exciting.
We all know that housing and the lack thereof is a problem across our state and nation. We held a Housing Trust Fund Summit this week to discuss best practices and ways we can advocate for housing to our legislature. I was impressed with the local non-profits that testified about their organizations and the things we can do to help them make more of a difference. The afternoon was spent learning about how other states have developed housing trust funds and the impact these funds have made on affordable and available housing. The legislature is studying this issue over the summer, and it is my hope we can find some common ground.
Chief Kopper stopped by to discuss issues at the fire department. We discussed a proposed change of schedule for our firefighters, challenges found in the contract regarding the change, and an update concerning the new fire stations. We have three new firefighters headed to the academy very soon. It is surprising how quickly a 25-year career passes.
Eric Fountain runs our compliance department. He has a very eclectic grouping of operations and I appreciate how he keeps things moving in a positive direction. Our nuisance department has a number of abandoned cars and homes that we need to take care. They have perfected the process and now is the time to clean up the neighborhoods. We also discussed the large number of accidents we recently had, and how it could affect our insurance rates. There’s just so much to do.
The last meeting of the week was with the owners of the Sweet Grass subdivision. They recently completed the clubhouse and have learned our liquor license issues will prevent their vendor from opening a business in Cheyenne. I shared the city’s efforts in procuring more licenses at the legislature level and how I look forward to receiving help to reform our liquor laws.
In closing, I really hope our grandson will come home this weekend so we can meet him finally. Have a great weekend.
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