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(COMMENTARY) The Mayor’s Minute with Mayor Patrick Collins (11/17/23)

Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins (City of Cheyenne)

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Dear Cheyenne,

Judy and I spent the Veterans Day holiday in Chicago for a family wedding. Our niece Mallory married a very sweet guy named Dustin. Our boys and daughter-in-law joined us and we spent Friday at the Art Institute where I renewed my love affair with the Impressionist painters. My favorite has always been Claude Monet, but I am now a big fan of Vincent van Gogh and his post-Impressionist works. I need more time to properly visit this amazing place.

We have watched Saturday Night Live for so many years now. We went to the Second City studios to take part in an improv show that has led to many of the regulars on SNL. It is always a pleasant surprise to see how dang talented these folks are. Art, entertainment and a great meal made our Friday perfect. By the way, I also found that the Chicago hotdog is not overrated. Devil Dawgs is a new favorite.

Monday, I attended the funeral for a great Cheyenne businessman and philanthropist, Maury Brown. Governor Gordon, Phil Kiner, and Reggie Slater all did a great job of telling Maury’s story, and the story of a self-made businessman who shared his success with the kids and nonprofits of our community. I love the Tim McGraw song, “Standing Room Only,” and as I sat in the packed Civic Center it came to me that Maury’s life deserved the respect that the standing room crowd showed him and his family.

At our meeting of the Governing Body on Monday evening, a couple of items were passed that I want to talk about. First, Project Cosmo’s development agreement was passed. This huge data center will be a game changer and open up a 3,000-acre business park for future development. Bringing infrastructure to the area will encourage development. We also have an item to relook at the requirements for the façades of multifamily developments. Today we require 30 percent to be brick or stone. This requirement takes the creativity away from our architectural professionals and adds to the cost of housing. Keeping our buildings attractive and interesting while lowering the cost of housing is worthy of our time and effort.

I want to take a minute to congratulate our county commissioners, especially Brian Lovett, for the Cheyenne Livestock Expo. I toured the Expo and welcomed the crowd to Cheyenne. I met folks from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kansas and so many other states who brought trailers of show cattle. This is not an inexpensive venture. Without exception, the folks told me they love our show and the way Cheyenne people treat them. Our hotels are full and restaurants busy because the commissioners invested in wash racks and other necessary items to make the Expo happen. What impressed me the most is the family aspect of showing livestock — older generations teaching the business of agriculture to the younger generation, keeping the family farm and ranch alive, and celebrating the western way of life.

We worked on our solar energy goal again this week. Leo Pueblitz works for a company that has helped Laramie install solar on their municipal buildings. Leo wanted to share how they have helped municipalities across the region. I’m learning so much about this industry.

You can’t read the news these days without hearing about cybercrimes and the impact they have on individuals and businesses. I met with our IT team again to ask them to review our cybersecurity protocols. I asked questions for an hour and came away with the understanding that our team has things under control. It is a very complicated issue and I am impressed with their understanding of the issues. I understand we need to provide the resources they need to secure our systems. I would encourage everyone to take a look at your computer use and take steps to protect yourselves from the cyber predators who would steal your money.

Judy and I had the honor to attend a dinner with the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command. General Bussiere and his wife, Barb, came to visit our base and meet with the leadership. General Bussiere’s Global Strike Command is in charge of the missile wings, like our Mighty Ninety, and the bomber wings across our nation. It is a big job and I enjoyed meeting him and his bride. We have many things we can do to support the men and women of our armed forces, and I know our community will do what we can.

The voters supported building a new senior center in our last 6th penny sales tax election. Our city is growing and our current senior center is not up to serving the needs of our senior population. The County Commissioners put the center on the 6th penny and then financed the construction to prevent inflation from making it too expensive. I appreciated Commissioner Thompson sharing the inspiration for making this new center happen. We had a groundbreaking Thursday and a year from now we will have the ribbon cutting for a great new facility for the seniors in our community. I got a haircut today and looking in the mirror reminds me that I am a senior. Dang it, time sure does fly by.

Being mayor gives me a seat on the LEADS board of directors. Thursday evening, we had a reception to allow board members to meet the new LEADS members who have joined this year. The members fund LEADS efforts to bring new businesses to Cheyenne like Project Cosmo. I am proud of the efforts our community has made to build business parks and the investments that have made our economic development efforts successful.

Thanksgiving is next week and it is my favorite holiday of the year. Time with family and a big turkey dinner makes it the perfect day. I am thankful for this job and all the folks I get to work with every day. Thank you for the opportunity. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Mayor Patrick Collins