The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – May 26th
Published on May 26, 2023
CHEYENNE−I can’t help but smile these days. I love summer and warm sunny days. Staying active helps me care for my mental health, and two activities I enjoy most this time of year are working in my yard and going outside with the dog. Summer life is so beautiful.
I have been reading the news about the thousands of migrants coming across the border these days. Councilman Segrave called and asked about the city’s plans in case it happens here. A group of city officials got together, including state homeland security, federal homeland security, the governor’s office, and emergency management, to discuss how we would handle the potential impacts of busloads of migrants being dropped off in our area. I learned from our conversation Wyoming is one of two states in our nation that has not signed to be a sanctuary state. This means, Wyoming has not partnered with the federal government to take in migrants. While we believe the chances of migrants being transported here are small, we did discover the capabilities of each of our partners.
The school district and city met again to continue the discussion about our partnership. From my perspective, we both are blessed to have financed facilities paid for by taxpayers. Therefore, it only makes sense that we share those facilities to maximize the taxpayers’ investment. I am happy that the superintendent agrees. What we have not done historically is memorialize our agreements with MOUs. Our next step is to do just that, with more to come!
I’m proud to be the Honorary Commander of the Mission Support Group on base. We had our spring dinner at the old golf course clubhouse. Ranch Eats killed the meal, and spending time with Colonel Dines and the rest of the team at FE Warren Air Force Base was a blast. The city manager from Kimball, Annette Brower, and her husband sat with us. It was interesting to talk with her about the upcoming impact on Kimball and western Nebraska from the new missile system. They are excited, nervous, and ready to go! Kimball is going to be the epicenter of the construction for the Sentinel missile upgrade. I appreciate being invited and considered part of the base community.
It is great to have a brand-new airport terminal. However, the question that has been asked since the opening is, what will be done with the old terminal? Councilman Rinne and I toured the old terminal with the airport director, Tim Bradshaw, to see what kind of shape the building is in and to hear the plans for the future. As to the condition, the bones look great---the building needs a complete overhaul to get it up to current codes and standards, but airport administration is looking into the ability to bring the building back to life and maybe restart the old Cloud 9 restaurant. I loved the prime rib served at the original Cloud 9. It will be an expensive project, but I am thrilled they are starting the conversation to make it happen.
If you remember the discussion from earlier this year, the legislature gave municipalities more bar and grill liquor licenses. They also added an entertainment component to qualify more businesses for the new licenses. One requirement is for the local issuing agency to define “Adult Entertainment.” It’s harder than I thought…Our teams from legal and the clerk’s offices met with me to discuss the issues. In the end, I think we figured out a “Cheyenne way” to handle the issue, but it was a challenge. We knew what we wanted to eliminate but didn’t want to prevent good businesses from inadvertently getting blocked by our definition. The next step will be to see what the city council thinks about our idea.
We had another meeting regarding the bridge and parking lot for Frontier Days. This meeting was with our purchasing manager, TJ Barttelbort, and Mary Kay from the Cheyenne Frontier Days’ (CFD) board. The state is making money available to the city for this project, and we needed to ensure the private-public partnership considered required city processes. As usual, TJ explained the necessary steps, and made it easy for us to chart the way forward. The parking area currently used for CFD parking will become housing for the military very soon, so, time is of the essence.
Ed Galavotti is a retired submariner and an advocate for veterans. He came by to advocate for the National Cemetery next to the Arboretum west of town. When Veterans Affairs built the cemetery, they did not complete the job. They didn’t build any restrooms, created parking, and the road in front of the cemetery is not paved. When it rains, the road becomes rutted and for older veterans, hard to navigate. Ed is looking for the city to step in and help with the road and parking. We are looking at options to help the situation; our veterans deserve as much.
Little America and Sinclair Oil have been long-time businesses in Cheyenne. Adam Suess from the company stopped by to share the new company’s vision after the sale of Sinclair Oil. I shared with him my appreciation for all that the Holding family and Little America have done for our city. They have acres of undeveloped land in our city, and I encouraged them to look for development opportunities to help our city and state grow.
Chief John Kopper and I toured the new fire station currently under construction. I was impressed by how far along they are. The station on Converse Avenue has drywall up and is almost ready for flooring. The other stations were started 30/60 days later. If all goes well, we will have our first ribbon cutting by the end of the year. Chief Kopper and I also toured the new housing developments being built in the southern part of our community. It makes me think the new southern fire station I thought would be needed in a decade might be needed much sooner. Here’s a quick update on our new fire trucks the voters approved through the 6th Penny; they are currently on the assembly line, and we should see them about the same time as our fire stations are completed.
Tuesday evening, the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) held an open house for potential upgrades to College Drive from I-25 to I-80. The study showed an immediate need for updating the intersection of South Greeley Highway. Due to the Sweet Grass housing community development, more access to College Drive will be required. If we do nothing, by 2045, the roadways will be so congested that no one will feel comfortable using them. I appreciate the DOT for looking ahead and making sure our roadways are safe and functional.
Cadet McGuire and his team from the Central High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) designed a memorial titled “Honoring our Fallen Heroes.” Central High School and its predecessor, Cheyenne High School, have been around since the late 1800s. They dedicated the memorial on Wednesday to honor the 54 high school graduates who have died in war serving our country since the Spanish-American war. Three Cheyenne gold star families attended the ceremony, and it was very moving. The cadets designed and built the memorial, and I am impressed with their understanding of the importance of honoring and remembering those who gave ALL for their country.
We have all heard the saying, “Freedom is not Free!” This Memorial Day, I ask you to take a minute to think of the millions of men and women who paid for our freedom with their lives. It is an immense price to pay for the freedom we enjoy in this country.
If you have a question or comment for me, please send an email to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer your questions or concerns in the following Mayor’s Minute column.