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The Municipal Building’s main sign is pictured Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Cheyenne. Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – The Cheyenne City Council formally approved a $14 million grant application for a new Cheyenne Sports Complex at its meeting Monday, along with a resolution requiring developers to pay a public safety fee to help fund police and fire services.

The recreation facility, which would be built next to the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center on West Lincolnway, would house basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and indoor turf sports, and its main goal would be to serve Cheyenne’s military families, though it would be available for residents of all ages.

“With a goal of encouraging a healthier Cheyenne, the Cheyenne Sports Complex will become an anchor for indoor and outdoor recreation for the region,” the application said.

If the administrators of the Defense Community Infrastructure Program – which aims for the “enhancement of military value, enhancement of military installation resilience and enhancement of military family quality of life” – are interested in the city’s plan, the Community Recreation and Events Department will be invited to submit a full proposal in August.

They will know by September if they’ve been selected.

The project has a wide range of support from local and statewide leaders, with letters from Congresswoman Liz Cheney; Sens. Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso; F.E. Warren’s outgoing 90th Missile Wing commander, Col. Peter Bonetti; F.E. Warren’s outgoing 20th Air Force commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Lutton; and Wyoming National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Greg Porter.

Especially as Cheyenne’s military population grows with the Minuteman III missile upgrade and as Laramie County School District 1 cuts elementary school sports, proponents of the project say a recreation facility with adequate space is needed.

“Such a sports complex, maintained and managed by the city, enhances the existing attributes of the installation, fills programmatic gaps, and also provides a sustainable solution to fluctuating federal budgetary restrictions for recreational services and facilities,” the application reads. “A one-stop shop sports venue will allow military members and their families another way to integrate into the Cheyenne community for added support and improved quality of life for decades to come.”

The facility would include:

A 13,060-square-foot facility dedicated solely to gymnastics, anticipating program expansion and the ability to host regional meets.

A three-court gymnasium with storage and spectator seating totaling 19,120 square feet that would accommodate a wide range of youth and intramural sports activities, meeting spaces and other community events.

An indoor turf fieldhouse that would be 22,500 square feet and would include several multi-purpose rooms that can be used for group exercise classes, parties and meetings, as well as storage rooms, spectator areas, multiple public restrooms, changing rooms, and men’s and women’s locker rooms.

“With a goal of encouraging a healthier Cheyenne, the Cheyenne Sports Complex will become an anchor for indoor and outdoor recreation for the region,” the application said.

Public safety development fees

As more and more large developments like Thomas Heights and Whitney Ranch come online, Cheyenne Fire Rescue and the Cheyenne Police Department will face increased calls for assistance. To help bolster those budgets and to ensure public safety organizations have the resources to adequately cover the growing population, the council created a public safety fee requirement at its Monday meeting.

The goal of the change, as stated in the planning report, is to “anticipate and evaluate the incremental and long-term impact of development on broader public and community public safety facility needs; (to) identify opportunities to provide public safety services to new development; (and to) collect fees for the roughly proportional and reasonably related impact of development on the ability to provide adequate public safety.”

The fee will apply to all new construction; additions to existing non-residential buildings that increase the square footage by 20% or more, applying only to the addition; and buildings renovated into space for residential use. Buildings that are constructed in the place of a demolished structure within a year will be exempt from the fee for 12 months for good cause shown, and renovations that don’t exceed 20% of the square footage and don’t include a conversion to residential units will also be exempt.

The amounts will be adjusted for inflation going forward and are currently listed as follows: residential uses, $836 per unit; commercial and service uses, $531 per 1,000 square feet of finished floor area; industrial uses, $457 per 1,000 square feet of finished floor areas; civic and public service uses, $260 per 1,000 square feet of finished floor space; employment, agriculture and any other uses, $882 per 1,000 square feet of finished floor area.

“One of my concerns about development is being able to maintain or provide our fire and safety and rescue services and not stretch them so thin that service declines in every area of our community,” Councilwoman Michelle Aldrich said. “I think it’s a good starting point and gives us the groundwork and a foundation.”

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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