Laybourn, Pete Election MUG

CHEYENNE – Thirty years ago, Pete Laybourn and the Crow Creek Revival Committee had a vision that Cheyenne could be completely connected by greenways. After helping bring that vision to fruition along Crow Creek, Laybourn dove headfirst into similar community improvement efforts.

From there, he was drawn to the Cheyenne City Council, where he served two terms to help drive positive change. This year, he’s running for reelection to his Ward 1 seat on the City Council.

“What I really like about service on the City Council is that when one of your ideas gets shot down and rejected, there’s always something else good to do. There’s always a project that needs help; there’s always people that need help; there’s always improvements that need to be made, so you get shot down over here and go work over there,” Laybourn said.

If reelected, Laybourn has a number of projects up his sleeve, including a plan to improve the city’s curb and gutters. Calling the idea “Pete’s Practical Plan,” Laybourn hopes to dedicate $250,000 to each ward to revamp curbs and gutters.

While it’s ultimately the property owners’ responsibility to maintain their sidewalks, curbs and gutters, Laybourn wants both the city and the property owner to chip in and get the work done. He said he plans to introduce the plan to the entire council within the next couple weeks.

Looking at the current state of sidewalks, especially downtown, Laybourn said, “we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Laybourn also said he’d like to see changes in how the city handles its drainage. With a number of new developments being built in Cheyenne, some residents have complained about increased flooding, and Laybourn said money has gotten tied up in expensive studies, rather than solutions to the problem.

While he noted that some studies are necessary for planning and development, he said the city needs to get better at long-range planning.

“We really have to develop and fund a master drainage plan. We’ve got problems all over town,” Laybourn said.

And although he recognizes the issues facing the city, Laybourn said he’s proud to have worked on a number of projects during his last term. One of his highlights on the council was approving the Crow Creek revival efforts earlier this year, which will make the creek inhabitable for wildlife, tying back to Laybourn’s original involvement with the city’s first greenway.

Laybourn also noted the crosswalk on Eighth Avenue near the Botanic Gardens and Frontier Park as an improvement he was proud of. If reelected, he said he wants to see more speed tables in neighborhoods, and better cyclist and pedestrian safety.

The paramount accomplishment, Laybourn said, was buying the plot of land for East Park. The move was approved by voters on the 2017 sixth-penny sales tax ballot, but it took the council many negotiations to finalize the purchase due to issues with appraisals.

“It’s comparable to Lions Park, and that’s huge,” Laybourn said.

However, he also said the city doesn’t run on autopilot. He said Cheyenne is a great place to live, work and play, but continuous effort is needed to keep it that way.

“Things don’t take care of themselves; you’ve got to drive them. You’ve got to make it happen; you can’t just expect that progress is going to occur.”

Laybourn is running against Cameron Karajanis, Miguel Reyes and Jeff White (incumbent) in this year’s election. The four top vote-getters will advance to the general election to fill two open seats.

Wyoming’s primary election is scheduled for Aug. 18, and the general election will take place Nov. 3. Absentee and early voting continue through Aug. 17.

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter at @MargaretMAustin.

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