Marian Orr file

Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr gives a speech Friday, March 15, 2019, at Little American Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne. Wyoming Tribune Eagle/file

CHEYENNE – During a series of community meetings hosted by Mayor Marian Orr, community members brought forward issues they see in Cheyenne, including blight in their neighborhoods and what can be done to help homeless families.

The tour, called “Kicking Rocks and Clearing the Path to Progress – Cheyenne Vision 2020,” consisted of meetings in each ward where the public was invited to speak directly with the mayor, City Council members and city staff about problems they see around the city.

“This isn’t unique to my administration or the mayor’s office,” Orr said. “It’s something that we have to do as elected officials – open ourselves up and make ourselves available.”

The last meeting of the tour was Wednesday night, but three meetings were held previously in each ward where residents shared their thoughts.

One resident brought up her concern that the local homeless shelter doesn’t allow families with children to stay there. She wondered what would happen to her husband and daughter if something happened to her.

Other residents raised concerns about blighted properties in their neighborhood, which weren’t being properly taken care of by the homeowners, and criticized the city for not doing enough about the problem.

Another concern raised was about public bathrooms during large community events or parades, specifically during Cheyenne Frontier Days. The residents said the bathrooms need some additional maintenance and attention when large numbers of people are using them.

When community members vocalize the specific problems they encounter, those issues are put on the city’s radar, Orr said. During Wednesday’s meeting, solutions to the issues brought up by residents were addressed.

The Laramie County Community Partnership has taken the lead on improving the homeless situation in town, and the city has changed its approach to communicating with residents that need to take better care of their properties.

“I think we’re making really good headway,” Orr said.

According to the mayor, one of the benefits of community meetings like these is that city staff can follow up with concerned residents to ask more questions or provide additional information. Another benefit of the meetings is they show residents that city officials are willing to listen.

“What’s really beneficial is letting the public know that we’re open to have them come in,” Orr said.

Ward 1 Councilman Jeff White agreed that community meetings are valuable for the city.

“I think it’s important to have the opportunity for folks to come to us, talk, ask questions and give us their concerns as much as possible,” White said. “It’s just another avenue to have some outreach and to connect with our constituents.”

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 @MargaretMAustin.

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