The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – November 19th

Published on November 19, 2021

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CHEYENNE -- We have discussed our dream of having a railroad experience in Cheyenne by providing residents and guests a chance to see the Union Pacific’s historic steam engines stored here.  Last Friday, Judy and I drove to Evanston, Wyoming to visit their historic roundhouse and machine shop.  We were met by Jim Davis, who worked for the city and was the architect of making this project happen.  I had been told how amazing their roundhouse is, but it blew me away.  It gives me a view of what we could do here in Cheyenne.  It would be transformative to our downtown and would give us a beautiful destination tourism venue.  We will keep doing the hard work until it happens.  Thanks Jim and Wayne for sharing your vision, and the three hours of your time.

Monday was a very busy day.  It started with a visit with the representative of Blue Peak Broadband.  We worked through some issues that inevitably happen with a construction project of this size.  It is nice to have a local representative to work with.   Next was a phone call with a developer that is finally going to build an apartment complex we have been working on for over five years.  259 units in phase one, club house, pool, dog park, and playground are just a few of the things that will make it a great place to live.  I appreciate their confidence and investment in Cheyenne.  Next, we went right into the Finance Committee meeting.  It was a busy agenda, including the development agreement for the Hitching Post Plaza Tax Increment Financing (TIF). This project is really rolling now. The day ended with a mayor’s call at the Civic Center with employees of the municipal building to update them on the status of our boiler project and answer questions.  I do love our employees; they are always looking at the positive side of things.

I hate early mornings but got up and worked out on Tuesday.  It always makes me feel better.  We have established a committee to consider the hiring of new employees and the consideration of pay for our existing employees.  We meet as necessary, and Tuesday morning was one of them.  As Cheyenne is growing, we are discussing how to keep up with the demands of the growth.  I appreciate our Treasurer and HR Director for their time to discuss how we should move forward with our limited resources.  I like the pressure of growth, versus the pressure of a dying community.

I have been in the bicycle business for 39 years now.  I miss being around the bikes, customers, and especially the employees in the shop.  I got a bit of bikes on Tuesday as Hobbs Elementary received an All Kids Bike grant from the BNSF Foundation.  They provided the funds to purchase 25 kids bikes, a bike for the teacher, and helmets.  The goal is to teach kindergartners to ride bikes.  Hobbs PE teacher, Kelsey Hemenover, applied for the grant and made it happen.  Governor Mark Gordon and I got to build a bike and ride with the kids.  Thanks to Strider Bikes and everyone involved in this effort.  Riding a bike was my lifeline to fun and freedom when I was a kid, I hope these kids have the same experience.

November 15th through 19th is National Apprenticeship Week.  I was honored to speak at a celebration and to proclaim the week for Cheyenne.  It is interesting to learn that apprenticeships provide an “earn while you learn education”, and that 94 percent of apprentices graduate with a job and earn $70,000 a year.  For those not headed to college, this is a great path to the middle class.

Wednesday started too dang early with the LEADS board meeting starting at 7:00 a.m.  I find this meeting to be so exciting as the folks in the room are focused on diversifying our economy and creating quality primary jobs.  They have a vision and the courage to follow it.  We have some very big announcements coming in the next two weeks.  The investments these new companies will make and the jobs they will create will move the needle of Cheyenne’s future.

We just passed the Sixth Penny Sales Tax.  My thanks to the voters again.  Wednesday we met to talk about how to fund the renovation of our beloved Civic Center.  It is 40 years old, and does not meet the ADA requirements, and frankly needs an update.  The team will be sharing our plan for the renovations soon.  A vibrant music and arts center is part of the kind of city I want to live in.  Let’s give ours some love.

Cheyenne has many volunteer boards and commissions.  At the end of the year, many of the appointments expire and we have some openings.  If you would like to serve your city, we have need of volunteers.  You can call Holly in the mayor’s office or apply on our website,  We met on Wednesday to look at our openings and sent out a press release with some of the openings this week.

We had a Human Services Advisory Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  We invest a small part of our Fifth Penny Sales Tax to help the less fortunate in our city.  We take advantage of the skills of the United Way team to help us vet the programs and review the outcomes.  We spent time today looking at how to change our investments to now fund collaborating programs.  Having agencies work together should help more people and maximize our dollars.

I met with a developer on Wednesday morning and an engineering company in the afternoon.  I love these meetings.  Developers building housing is something I want to celebrate and helping our local professional engineering companies do business with the city keeps the money in the local economy.  This developer is talking about building 700 housing units in the next few years!!

Cindy DeLancey invited me to the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame Banquet on Wednesday evening.  It was the first time I have attended but it will not be the last.  Three Wyoming business legends were honored.  Mike Wandler is the President of L&H Industrial.  They have built a small Gillette welding and machine shop to a $100 million international business.  They are now on the third generation of Wyoming ownership.  Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen started Climb Wyoming 35 years ago here in Cheyenne.  They now serve 17 Wyoming communities and have made a difference in over 10,000 families.  Dr. Dinneen has turned over the management of Climb Wyoming to the next generation of Wyoming women to run for the next 35 years.  The Legacy Award went to our beloved former Senator Mike Enzi.  His son Brad received the award on behalf of his family and did a masterful job of sharing Mike’s values and work ethic.  We will all miss Wyoming’s Senator.  I am in awe of the leadership Wyoming has in our business community.

Thursday involved several fun meetings.  We met to discuss how to manage our surface water drainage into the future.  Met with Kiwanis again to discuss their plans to take on a big philanthropic project to celebrate their 100th anniversary in Cheyenne.  Met with the team of the Wyoming Senior Olympics, and their plans to hold the next three summer games in Cheyenne. Had a board mixer with LEADS, and then a dinner with Nathan from the Union Pacific.  I really do love my job, thanks Cheyenne.

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