The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – September 15th
Published on September 15, 2023
CHEYENNE – It was a mixed week for the football fan in your mayor’s office. I met my wife at the University of Wyoming and it was great to see them win these past two weeks. I was born in Nebraska and for the past decade plus the Husker fan in me has taken a beating. Judy and I have had Broncos season tickets since 1984 and we have seen lots of great football over the years. They have been tough to watch these past few years as the Chiefs and the rest of our division has routinely pounded the blue and orange. We all start the season with optimism, only the Pokes are looking like they will live up to the preseason hopes. Go Pokes.
My first meeting of the week was with Eric Fountain who is the director of our Compliance Division. The compliance division is one of the most diverse we have. Animal Control, Nuisance enforcement, Building Department, Risk Management, and ADA policy. Eric and his team have inherited the cleanup efforts left behind by the ever-increasing homeless population. He showed me pictures of an area that will take three days and upwards of 20 folks to clean up. We also talked about the large number of accidents we have that impact our insurance rates. An organization as large of ours will have accidents, but we are working to prevent as many accidents as possible. We also reviewed the abandoned homes that have been taken over by squatters causing distress for the neighbors. We have a great crew in our Compliance Division, and I appreciate all they are doing for our community.
It is hard to believe, but our auditors are back in the building again. It seems like they just left. Robin and the team in our Treasurer’s office have received clean audits for a number of years now due to hard work and professionalism. I met with the team this week to get an update on the preparations, and work through the issues we always have at the beginning of any audit. Good news is we are ready!
At our city council meeting on Monday night, we had testimony from folks regarding their concern about speeding in the neighborhoods. It is a conversation all members of the governing body have been having with their constituents for a long time now. Neighborhoods should be a safe place, but those folks who drive at dangerous speeds jeopardize neighborhood safety. This week I met with a representative of a company that makes driver feedback radar signs. We have all seen the signs that report our speeds allowing us the opportunity to slow down when required. We have also looked into traffic calming devices like modular roundabouts we can add to neighborhood intersections to help control traffic speeds. The city council has made it clear that getting speeding under control is a major goal and I hope our community will see the benefits of obeying the posted speed limits. More to come.
Tuesday morning, I toured a new apartment complex in the Saddle Ridge area that has one building ready for residents. Andrew and Karl gave me a tour of the model and I was impressed by the spaciousness and quality of the appliances and finishes. I met this group a couple years ago and they promised 1,000 units by the end of this decade. This development will be the first 220 units. They shared they have purchased the next 15 acres to get their apartment units up to 500. I am so appreciative of Summit Capital Management and all the developers who are building the housing we need today and for the future.
I had a bit of a scare on Monday night at our council meeting. I had some shooting light sensations in my left eye and on Tuesday the last one ended with a huge floater right in the middle of my vision. Judy had a detached retina last fall and I was sure I had the same thing. I got into Dr. Bowman and sure enough, I did have a detachment, but this one is called a Vitreous Detachment. No surgery, but this dang floater seems like it will be with me for eternity. Sigh!
We had a director’s meeting this week. I have shared how much I enjoy the interactions with our team and getting caught up with what’s going on in their departments. A couple of highlights. Our Sherard water treatment plant installed a hydroelectric component recently and they will be holding an open house on October 7th. It is really cool and I hope you will come out for the tour. Our public transit program has started the four routes system to allow folks a quality way to get around town. It has taken a while since the end of the Covid shutdown, but we are excited to provide this robust service again. We have been using the old Eastridge School for our gymnastics program for months now. We got a two day notice we have to move out. Jason and our team in Community Recreation found a new location, negotiated a lease, and hired a moving company in those few days. We are now open in the old Frontier Gymnastics building in the Pointe and we appreciate the owners for helping save our program.
We held another meeting with Austin and Justin from Black Hills Energy (BHE) to our city council goal to understand the solar industry and investigate the possibility of building a community solar project in Cheyenne. I have learned so much from these meetings and appreciate the BHE team for sharing their time and expertise.
Jeff White has served as a ward 1 city council member for two terms now. I have a huge list of questions and we had lunch on Thursday to go over them. The Belvoir Ranch, Arboretum, National Cemetery, Ombudsman, Frontier Days parking, High Plains Business Park, and a salary study were just some of the things we discussed. I appreciate the time all our city council members give me to discuss issues in our city. We have a great team.
Shellie Colgan has worked in our municipal court system as a paralegal and clerk of the court. She rocks and I hoped we would work together for years to come. Unfortunately, her family has an incredible opportunity in Cody and Friday is her last day. I just want to say thanks and wish them luck in their new venture.
We built our municipal building in 1978. I love this old building, but we need to update a few things including the bathrooms. I met with Jamie Winters and our city team to discuss upgrading our bathrooms and getting them ADA compliant. I loved what they have proposed and look forward to seeing what they come up with.
I enjoy my time and conversations with Carter Napier, the city manager of Casper. I asked for some time to discuss how they are handling the homeless issues. What is the saying: misery loves company? Seems like Casper and Cheyenne share similar challenges. We have agreed to share our successes and best practices going forward.
The Derby Club is in the old Montgomery Wards store on Pershing Blvd. They also own the old Grand Central Building where I worked as a kid. I appreciate all they are doing to create an entertainment area. Restaurants, health club, casino, and now a liquor store in the western end of the building are open. They are also going to start construction of the bowling alley and arcade this fall. Looks like something for everyone.
Hoping for a better weekend for my football teams this weekend and hope the same for yours unless we are playing each other. Go Pokes!
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.