Mayor Patrick Collins mug.jpg

Mayor Patrick Collins

I attended Manufacturing Day at LCCC on Friday, Oct. 1. This is a celebration of manufacturing in Wyoming and Cheyenne. I was honored to read a proclamation and congratulate those working in the manufacturing industry. We have 1,076 folks working in manufacturing in Laramie County, making an average of $73,000 a year. This means we have an impact of over $78 million a year in just salaries. I have shared with you my visits to many manufacturers that are moving the needle and helping to diversify our local economy.

Our local fire departments, AMR and a few of the labor organizations held a chili cook-off on Saturday. I was lucky enough to be a judge. It was a beautiful day, and the chili was delicious. Red, green, exotic and hottest were the categories. I love chili, and was impressed with the quality these folks cooked up.

If I seem a bit down this week, it is due to my trip to Mile High Stadium and the Broncos vs. Ravens game. I had high hopes for this year’s team and still do. The Ravens dominated, and that means I must live with our fire chief giving me heck about his favorite team winning.

I met with reps from the Technology Advisory Council to discuss our goals for moving our city forward in the tech arena. It is so surprising to see how young these folks are. They grew up with technology being a big part of their life, and now they are sharing their expertise to help the city be more competitive. We have a growing tech eco-culture, and I want to see it grow.

We have a new municipal judge, David Singleton. We swore him in last Friday and held a robing ceremony. It was great to have his family and friends share in the moment. We also had his law professors from UW and most of our local judiciary there to join in the celebration. Being a judge is a big deal, and David will be great in the role.

The Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) is a partnership with the Air Force Base, the city and local private sector. The plan is to build housing on the area that Frontier Days currently has their park-n-ride. I spoke with the commanding general of the civil engineering group about the project and to encourage his support to make it happen. We are continuing to make progress. Housing is a crisis in Cheyenne, and with the new missile program coming to the base, it’s critical to the airmen working there.

You know of our goal to get the Belvoir Ranch opened to the public. Our first step is to build a trail system on the west side of the ranch to connect to the trails Colorado has built on their side of the border. We met on Monday to discuss next steps, and I am optimistic that we will get it done. I appreciate the partnerships with Visit Cheyenne, State Parks and our staff. I cannot wait to cut the ribbon and let our residents and visitors onto the ranch.

As I have traveled to other cities, I am many times impressed by the public art they have on display. A great example is Sheridan and the bronzes that line Main Street. I have wanted to do the same on Capitol Avenue for some time. Harvey Deselms has had that dream for even longer. On Monday, we held a press conference at the corner of Capitol Avenue and 21st Street. There is a bronze there of kids playing on a mailbox. We announced the Capitol Avenue Bronze Project to place a bronze on every corner from the Depot to the Capitol. Folks are donating bronzes in memory of loved ones, or just to help beautify our city. It is our goal to make this happen in the next 24 months. A special thanks to Nathaniel Trelease, who is co-chairing this effort. We should be placing the first three bronzes in the next couple months.

Each year, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce gives its most prestigious award, induction into the Circle of Champions. This year’s awardees are Jim and Peggy Hearne. LCCC President Joe Schaffer interviewed them, and I loved to hear their life story. I have shared my appreciation for their amazing volunteerism here in Cheyenne. The Hearnes have done this their entire lives. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. I wish them a great retirement on the ranch.

Health care is such a complicated thing. At the city, we have over 500 employees that need a good health care program. The city has hired Novo Benefits to help us navigate these important decisions. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for their council. We met to discuss a proposal to add $10.49 to every prescription filled in Wyoming that will be used to help local pharmacies survive. This would cost our employees or city $95,700 a year. It is expected to cost Wyoming residents $80 million in increased prescription costs. I am sure the legislature will work through this proposal and make the right decision for our state.

The city is required to be audited every year to make sure we are using your tax dollars properly. I was interviewed by Stephanie Pickering, the partner in charge of our audit from MHP, LLP. The purpose was to inquire about any concerns I might have with potential fraud. They are mostly done with this year’s audit, and we will report the results as soon as they are released. Our city treasurer, Robin Lockman, and her crew do a great job, and I am expecting a great result.

Wyoming is blessed to have Luke Reiner as the head of WYDOT. I got to know Luke when he was the adjutant general of our National Guard. I asked for a meeting with WYDOT to talk about a few issues we are working on in common. I appreciate the team at WYDOT and their willingness to collaborate to make our transportation system the best it can be.

When we built the Public Safety Building, the police department left part of the building undeveloped with the idea that after a period of time they would know what their needs would be. They saved part of the sixth-penny money for the cost of constructing these areas. The police department made a proposal for developing the vacant areas. They have found that computer crimes are taking more time and need more space. They need more shelving in the evidence room, and our current training areas are not large enough to efficiently train our force. I will take their request to the City Council for approval.

I had lunch with the leadership of the LDS Church on Thursday. We had a nice conversation on what we can do to encourage our youth to get involved in community service. There are so many opportunities, and they are committed to getting kids active and involved. I hope to encourage other faith-based communities to follow suit. We need to develop the next generation of volunteers.

Lunch on Thursday was at the Albany. The Kallas families have been the stewards of this historic restaurant and building for as long as I can remember. Gus and George have retired, and Brian Bau is the new owner. I like that he recognizes the importance of this historic business and is committed to making sure it is vibrant for decades to come. I got a tour of his building, and he shared some of the vision he has for new ways he can make our downtown a destination for residents and visitors. I cannot wait to see it happen.

I stopped by the new location for Alexis Drake on 15th Street. I wanted to tour the retail store and see the manufacturing operation. The store is beautiful, and I was impressed by the skill of the ladies sewing the handbags together. This is another local entrepreneur creating jobs and bringing money from around the world to Cheyenne. Thanks, Lexie!

Our fire department has had several promotions over the past few months. Thursday, we gathered at the Public Safety Building to hold a Badge and Shield Ceremony, where new badges and helmets were given to match the new ranks. I was reminded how young some of our firefighters are by the young kids in attendance. Spouses shared the time it required to study to make the next higher grade. We know how our firefighters serve, but it was a reminder of how much the families sacrifice in support of their careers.

Our question this week comes from Jean Shiverdecker. She asks about the city plans for the Belvoir Ranch and questioned if the city has changed the access rules for the property. She has noticed a marked increase in traffic on the ranch.

Jean, we have not changed the access rules for the ranch. We have had a few tours to look at the alignment for roads and trails. We are doing another one this coming Wednesday. Our plans were discussed here earlier. We are looking to build a trailhead and some hiking and biking trails to give residents access to their ranch. We have not made any specific plans for the newly purchased Mariah property. I have heard discussions about opening the area up to grazing, but nothing else to date. The ranch has amazing potential for recreation, and I hope to see it open in the next year.

If you have a question for me, send it to media@cheyennecity.org.

Patrick Collins is the mayor of Cheyenne.

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