The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – Jan. 26, 2024
Published on January 26, 2024
We received bad news on Thursday with the passing of Bobbi Barrasso. Bobbi was a tireless advocate for our state and its residents, and she and Sen. John Barrasso were an amazing team. Please keep them in your prayers.
Last Friday, our Planning Department presented a work session for City Council on the Unified Development Code. The UDC was meant to be a living document that can be amended if the benefits to the community warrant changes. Over the past couple of months, we have been debating the merits of changing our UDC regulations that affect housing with the goal of reducing costs and incentivizing developers to build more units. During the work session, the Planning Department discussed how to improve public engagement, outlined the next areas for review, and answered questions. I appreciate the efforts of the department and the robust debate from the community and City Council on these issues.
City Council’s goal of getting a community solar project built in our community took a step forward this week. Rocky Mountain Institute shared the next steps we need to take to make this goal a reality. RMI is a nonprofit organization that works with municipalities like ours who want to take a brownfield site like our closed landfill and turn it into a brightfield by placing renewable energy like solar on the site. RMI does this at no charge. Our grant writer, Renee, met them and they are now helping guide our effort. So much to do, but the first steps of this journey have been taken.
The Sentinel Missile upgrade of our existing Minute Man 3 system is close to starting and I meet quarterly with the mayors of Minot, ND, and Great Falls, MT, to talk about the progress in each of our communities. Dale Steenbergen from our Chamber of Commerce is a great resource in helping answer questions and give guidance to the elected officials. The Sentinel program has breached the Nunn-McCurdy Act threshold, meaning it will need to be reviewed by the Secretary of Defense to determine if the project should proceed due to the increased costs. Inflation has not only hit our grocery bills, but it has also made defense contracts more expensive. The Sentinel upgrade is essential if the triad is to remain intact.
I am an ex-officio member of the Chamber Board. Their meetings conflict most months with our standing committee meetings so I miss most of them. I was able to attend this week and I always enjoy the experience. The best part is the updates from the other ex-officio members. This week included reports from the Base Deputy Commander, Commissioner Malm, Betsey from LEADS, Tom Hirsig from CFD, Tim Thornell from CRMC, and LCCC. It is fun to hear all the great things happening in our city. I tried to get you the lineup for CFD night shows but learned we will hear it in March. Can’t wait!
Monday evening, our meeting of the governing body lasted 26 minutes. The great part was that it allowed our members to attend the town hall hosted by Representative Harriet Hageman. I wanted to thank Ms. Hageman for her office’s help in getting the Post Office’s attention and help in solving a couple of problems constituents are having with the post office in Cheyenne. I had been trying in one case for over a year. Within a few days, the Denver office called and it looks like we have found solutions. Can you imagine buying a new house and not being able to get your mail delivered? I appreciate the Denver office and Ms. Hageman’s office for getting this solved. You just need access to the right person.
I appointed Darrell Hibbens to the Planning Commission. It is an important board that helps vet development actions in our city. I was impressed when Darrell asked for a meeting to discuss the appointment and expectations of being a commissioner. I enjoyed the opportunity and his dedication to doing a great job.
I joined a couple City Council members, City staff members, and a gentleman who makes a living moving railroad cars. We have a number of railroad cars that we need to move for the 15th Street Railroad project and other railroad cars we might want to move in the future. It was nice to get a first-hand description of how it is possible to move these cars and place them in a location away from the tracks. It seemed impossible, but he made it seem easy. I hope to be there when the cars are moved and placed for the public to view.
Project Cosmo is happening. This week LEADS hosted a social hour to introduce our local partners with the team from Fortis. Fortis is the contractor hired by Cosmo to build the data center building. I learned they have built these data center buildings around the world. What a nice group of people. I knew the data center would make a huge impact when built and operating, I had no idea the impact the construction will have on the city during the construction phases. Fortis shared they will have over 1,000 folks working on this project for a number of years. In some communities, members of their construction team are on the site for a decade or more. Once the build out is completed, the first buildings get an update and then the next one and so on. They will become one of Cheyenne’s largest employers and are very committed to supporting the city they work and live in. Sounds like groundbreaking in the spring, and hopefully an official announcement soon after.
Now, the best part of my week. Judy and I went to dinner with our son, his wife, and a bunch of friends on Saturday. After dinner, they handed each of us a cupcake. We took turns cutting into the cupcakes, and when I cut into mine it was filled with pink hearts. We are going to have a granddaughter in July! My heart is full. Let the spoiling begin.