The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – June 24th
Published on June 24, 2022
CHEYENNE – This past weekend was very busy and a lot of fun. It started on Friday evening at the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet. It is their celebration of the business community, and they had a record attendance of over 700 folks. I was so honored to receive the Person of the Year award. It gave me a chance to make up for the time I forgot to thank my wife in a similar situation over 20 years ago. We are so blessed to have a Chamber that does so much for our community, and I want to thank them for the great honor.
Saturday morning was the Juneteenth celebration in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Judy and I had a blast meeting the folks celebrating this new federal holiday. It is sobering to think of the slaves who were freed but were not notified for over two years in Texas. The Juneteenth Committee did a nice job of educating the public on the reason for the holiday and I enjoyed meeting the folks in the park.
Saturday afternoon was the Pride BBQ in Holliday Park. I again enjoyed meeting the folks in the park. The weather was perfect, and Sara and her team put on a great BBQ. One highlight was a tour of Noam’s Table food truck. I had never been inside a food truck. Very tight quarters, but amazing food. Judy and I met so many great people, we look forward to doing it again next year.
Sunday was Father’s Day, and I hope all the fathers enjoyed time with their families. I got a great home cooked breakfast, played golf with my son Jac alongside Tom and Ann Segrave, and cooked burgers outdoors for dinner. I had not played for eight months so it was a blast to get on the course. Monday my dad joined me for nine holes and lunch as he was out of town on Sunday. Golf, family, and BBQ is my secret sauce for a wonderful weekend.
We had a big fire on East Lincolnway this week that unfortunately spread to the adjacent business. I was impressed by the response that came from our first responders. Of course, our Cheyenne Fire Rescue (CFR) team responded, but we don’t have enough firefighters to handle a fire of this size. That’s where our mutual aid partners are our heroes. Engines from Fire District 1, Laramie County Fire Authority, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, National Guard Fire, plus Cheyenne Police, and American Medical Response (AMR) all came together to put out this blaze. The loss of the Auto Locker and the construction business co-located there is a huge loss to the owners and our community. Remediating that space will be a challenge for our community. Thanks to all our partners who kept the fire from spreading and our community safe.
I met with a West Edge businessperson who has found himself in a zoning predicament. As someone who has ran a small business for many years, I am empathetic to his position. Staff and I are working to find a solution but making sure we treat everyone consistently complicates the issue.
One great piece of news, the Hynds building is under contract. The buyers are local and experienced. They have 45 days to do their due diligence, before the deal will close. Domenic Bravo from Visit Cheyenne/ Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and I met with them to learn what we can do to make this deal happen and their project successful. The Hynds has been mostly empty for almost 40 years now. It will be a great addition to downtown to see it filled and adding to our economy. Fingers crossed that this deal will happen.
Next week the Corporations Committee of the legislature will meet for the first time to discuss the issue of liquor licenses. I have been meeting with Mike Mosher who represents those folks who currently have liquor licenses to see if we can find a way to work together. The municipalities in the state are asking for more liquor licenses and the Corporations Committee is charged with looking to see what makes sense. I plan on being at the meeting to tell our story and ask for help. Mike and I have found many areas of agreement and I appreciate his insight. We still must work on the idea of more retail licenses, or the creation of a new category of license, that will help our local entrepreneurs.
Jack Weinstein and his wife Patricia were in town to visit their son Sam. I met them when Jack was the general in charge of the 20th Air Force. He is retired and went back home to teach at Boston University. I look forward to their visits and the opportunity to have coffee and catch up. I am always amazed at how relaxed he looks compared to the days he commanded our Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force and 12,000 airmen. Jack is teaching amazing young people and still making a difference for our nation.
We had a very tough meeting with a company that is working in our city to install fiber optic to homes and businesses. I have received too many complaints with their construction practices and remediation efforts. I met with them again to share my disappointment and restate our expectations. I believe the message was received and future performance will meet expectations.
Our Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Committee met for our quarterly meeting. The MPO is a partnership with the city, county, and Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) that works to invest federal planning dollars to better our transportation system. It is a great team and I enjoy being part of it. I find looking at transportation needs 20 to 30 years down the road interesting, and getting our current roads upgraded to meet the future demands equally interesting. The challenge is finding a way to fund the plans the MPO prepares.
The Commanding Officer of the Mission Support Group on F.E. Warren Air Force Base is the mayor of the base. I was matched with this command as the honorary commander and loved Colonel Carolyn Ammons who runs this group. Her time as commander ended on Thursday as she has been transferred to San Antonio to be the next wing commander of the Air Force Services Command. I know she will rock her new assignment as she did for the past three years here in Cheyenne. Colonel John Dines is the incoming commander and with his wife Becky, they are happy to be back in Cheyenne.
I asked to meet with Representative Dan Zwonitzer for advice on a few municipal issues. He has served in the legislature for 18 years and has been a great resource for Cheyenne and Laramie County. Issues like affordable housing, liquor licenses, schools, and much more are things we need to solve. I look to folks like Rep. Zwonitzer to help us solve them. I appreciate having him on our team.
My last two meetings of the week were with the department directors of our fire department and our planning department. Chief Kopper came by to update me on the two recent fires. Good news is our firefighters came through the fires healthy and safe. He also updated me on the land acquisition needed for our new fire stations. Like every project, the new fire stations have been a challenge so far, but I feel like we are on track for a late summer groundbreaking.
Charles Bloom stopped by to update me on the plans to annex our county pockets that are surrounded by the city. The city council has made this a goal for the year. We are having a work session today at 12:00 p.m. to educate the public and the council on our progress. One goal I have is to make sure these annexations don’t cost the folks in the annexed areas and that we can make the process as painless as possible. For those living in county pockets, we will have public meetings to answer their questions and calm their fears.
I am looking forward to another great Fridays on the Plaza this week and hope to see you out and about on Superday this Saturday in Lions Park from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
If you have a question for me, send it to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.