The following is from the Mayor’s Minute written by Mayor Patrick Collins.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — My family traveled to Chicago last weekend to attend the memorial for my little sister Colleen. She did not want a funeral, but a party where stories would be told and a toast given. I find as I get older, it takes a wedding or a funeral to get families together. I loved seeing everyone, but hated the reason. Colleen was a great woman, and she will be missed.
I have shared the struggle the governing body went through in deciding how to give out the lone liquor license the city received due to the census. It has been our goal to petition the legislature to ask for changes to state law allowing for more licenses. I traveled to Casper to meet with the six largest cities in the state to discuss their liquor license situations. I found that they are all out of retail licenses, and most are out of bar and grill licenses as well. It was great to listen to the other city leaders and plan how we will approach our legislators for help.
We also talked about our housing situations. I was not surprised to learn that we are all short of housing and share a concern that inflation and growth is leaving folks unable to afford housing. I am happy that the legislature has decided to take workforce housing on as an interim topic. I believe it will take all our partners to solve this problem. I plan on testifying and listening at the Corporations Committee meeting at the end of June. I am hopeful we will find a solution.
For six years we have been working with the Air Force to build a housing development using what the Air Force calls an Enhanced Use Lease. They have land outside their security gate, where Cheyenne Frontier Days has their remote parking lot. The plan is to build an apartment complex that will serve not only airmen, but also our community. I had dinner with General Allen, the person in charge of the Air Force’s program. I was happy to learn the Air Force is planning to open the project up for RFP and we will have an opportunity to see this project happen. We really need the housing units.
I have a question for all of you. The city has a public access channel on the local cable TV network: Spectrum local access channel 192. My question is, How many of you actually watch the city council meetings on this channel? In the past few years, we have added streaming services like YouTube and Facebook Live. I am trying to decide if the TV channel is worth the expense. I would appreciate your help in making the decision.
The highlight of our last city council meeting was the attendance of the Mayor’s Youth Council, and the opportunity to thank them for their service over the last year. We had two seniors who will graduate and go off to college. Zoey Lundin will be heading to Creighton University and Madison Thomas is off to the University of Tennessee. I wish them well and look forward to next year’s youth council.
The Department of Environmental Quality is celebrating Air Quality Awareness Month. As part of this event, I was invited to tour the NCore Monitoring Station located in North Park. This monitoring station takes air samples continuously and reports any pollution to the DEQ and Environmental Protection Agency. I admit the tour was a bit over my head due to the scientific jargon, but it was very reassuring to know our air quality is being monitored and protected.
One thing I really enjoy about my job is meeting new people and learning about new things. I had one of those experiences this week with the Salvation Army. I was surprised to learn the Salvation Army has been active in Cheyenne since before Wyoming was a state, something like 130 years. The new leaders are Saul and Crystal Smoak. They come with excitement and energy to help our city and the less fortunate. I was pleased that they asked what we need and how the Army can help. I look forward to our continued partnership.
Another highlight of our city council meeting was the appointment of Jason Sanchez as the new director of our Community Recreation and Events department. Jason started as a seasonal employee working in our parks and has, over the years, held many different positions leading to his appointment as our director. I am excited to have Jason lead our team and look forward to working together.
Ronn Jeffrey has served our city for more than 50 years, first founding and leading Youth Alternatives to serving as our Municipal Court Youth Judge today. We have been having lunch on a regular basis and I treasure our time together. The youth of Cheyenne have benefited, and I appreciate his service and friendship.
I have been honored to be an Honorary Commander on the base for many years. This is a matching of base commanders with members of our business community. I enjoy the time with members of the military in Cheyenne and love their passion and professionalism. Colonel Carolyn Ammons is the Commander of the Mission Support Group at F.E. Warren Air Force Base. It is a good match for me as she is the mayor of the base.
Jim Byrd is a past legislator, and he stopped by to talk about some city issues that affect his neighborhood. Reed Avenue Corridor, Belvoir Ranch, noise ordinances, MLK Park, and racism were all topics of discussion. I appreciate his time and his interest in the well-being of our community.
We formed a Technology Advisory Council to advise the mayor and city council on ways technology can be used to grow and diversify our economy. It was stimulating to hear their thoughts and ideas. I will admit some of it was over my head, but I also recognize that technology is important to our future. Ideas like smart cities, 5G, cyber security, broadband, and electric vehicle charging stations are all things they are working on. I am impressed and appreciative of their service to the council.
This weekend, we celebrate Memorial Day in America. It is our opportunity to honor those brave Americans who gave their lives in service to our country. Memorial Day has become a time for sales and shopping, picnics, ball games, and family outings. I would ask you to take time this weekend to remember the men and women who gave all for our country, and their families that mourn and miss them.