The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – June 4th
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) - My wife, Judy, and I spent the Memorial Day holiday in Salt Lake City with our two sons and their girlfriends. Our oldest, Sean, lives there and attends the University of Utah. He is a huge hockey fan as he played the entire time he was growing up. Jac, our youngest, played soccer. Saturday afternoon was spent watching Chelsea win the Champions League championship game. An epic 1-0 victory, and all was good on Saturday. Sunday evening was spent at a local pub watching the Avalanche beat Las Vegas 7-1 in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. All was good Sunday. It is so great to spend time with our kids. The only bad thing was our flight was cancelled and we had to drive. It wasn’t too bad though as Wyoming is beautiful right now, super green!
Tuesday was one of the best days I have had so far as Mayor. It started off meeting with John Rimmasch who is a member of the Depot Board of Directors. We had met a few weeks ago and Tom Segrave and I had shared our goal of having a walkway from the depot to the historic roundhouse that houses some of the Union Pacific Steam Fleet. It could be such a tourist draw. They told us they had been working on that idea for the past four years. They took our idea and made it so much more. I cannot wait to flesh it out and share the vision with our community.
My next was a ribbon cutting for a new playground at Pioneer Park. It was funded by the Community Development Block Grant. We have 32 playgrounds, and it is very hard to find a way to finance their replacements. This playground has a great back story. Teresa Moore our Community Recreation and Events director had her granddaughter help with the design. I loved to hear the giggles and laughs as she participated in the ribbon cutting.
Next, we met with Jerimiah Rieman and Dennis Ellis about building new trails on the Belvoir Ranch and connecting to the Big Hole. Jerimiah is part of Wyoming Pathways, and I so appreciate their volunteering to help make our dream come true. An 18,000-acre park next to Cheyenne is going to be so cool. We are working with the UP Railroad to get permission to get across their tracks and get this project started. You must see how beautiful the Big Hole is. We are going to visit the area in the next couple of weeks and are going to take a drone to share with you the pictures and video of its beauty.
My last event of the day was a meeting with the buyer of the historic Hitching Post Inn property. Everything is on track at this point. Getting this blighted site remediated and getting our west entrance to the city cleaned up is epic. I hope you can see what I see and my excitement at the end of this day.
Wednesday morning Representative Bill Henderson stopped by to discuss our biggest needs and how he can help the City of Cheyenne get them accomplished. I appreciate him taking the time and interest in the city.
Wednesday afternoon we cut another playground ribbon in south Lions Park. The kids were lined up and ready to play as we cut the ribbon. This one was paid for with a Land and Water Conservation Grant. The State Parks manages this grant. Darin Westby and his crew have helped our city finance and build a great park system. Again, the screams and giggles made my day.
Wednesday afternoon we met with the representative from Balfour Beatty. They are working with the Air Force on the housing project west of the base. As we have discussed, we have a big housing shortage, and we need this apartment building now. We will keep working with everyone involved until it gets built.
Thursday morning was a hoot. I met with a couple of third grade classes at Hobbs Elementary. I asked them “what do you think a mayor does?”. We spent 45 minutes answering that question. They were very astute and had a very good understanding of my job. One very cool part of this part of the day is it was Mrs. Skarohlid’s last day as a teacher. She taught our son, Sean, 25 years ago and after 36 years deserves a long and healthy retirement. It was great to celebrate her last day on the job.
Thursday afternoon I met with a builder looking to build 97 homes this summer. With our shortage of people in the trades, it is going to be a challenge to find the help necessary to make it happen. We brainstormed how to get it done. With a 3,000-housing unit shortage, I am celebrating every small success.
Thursday was also sports day in the Mayor’s office. First, we had a Jr. Hockey team from Wisconsin looking to add a team in Cheyenne at the Ice and Events Center. We have a great venue, and they are excited to get started. There are a few things left to work out, but I think we will have a hockey team here in the fall of 2022. Get ready for a puck drop!
Next, we had a visit from the President of the Expedition League. It is a summer college wood bat league that started in 2018 and now has 12 teams. Casper and Gering, Neb. both have teams. This is a great league, and I would love to have a team in Cheyenne. Our challenge is we would need a new stadium due to the amazing amount of play on our existing fields. It would cost a few million dollars and it is going to be a real challenge to find a way to pay for it. Gering won the league’s first championship.
Friday morning, I got a chance to work with our sanitation department picking up garbage. In the old days, it took three people to man a truck. While I was on the City Council, we transitioned to the automated trucks due to the number of injuries to our workforce. On Friday, we drove our brand-new automated truck and it was great to see how well it worked. Our crews are so dedicated, and it is amazing the amount of work they get done; 600 to 900 homes per day thru narrow alley ways and next to parked cars. It also showed me how important it is to place your container in the correct place so our operators can do their job safely. When you do not place them as required, the driver must get out of the truck, and it takes too much time. My driver Kenny Alvarado was a rock star and with his 20 years of experience, he made the job look easy. When I tried, it was so much harder than it looked. Thanks Kenny!
Friday lunch was spent at the Chamber Luncheon. It was the graduation of the Leadership Cheyenne class of 2021. I graduated in 1997 and loved the experience. My Chief of Staff, Andy Worshek, is a member of this year’s class and I wanted to be there to share in the experience. Congratulations Master Chief.
I will spend Friday evening on the base for an Honorary Commander event. The Honorary Commander program matches a person from the community with a leader on the base. It gives us time to get to know each other and learn about what the base does. Over the years I have had a bunch of great matches. My last commander was Bryce Fiacco, commander of the Contracting Squadron. Since I have been elected Mayor, I am paired up with the Commander of the Mighty 90, Colonel Bonetti. I am sad as he leaves to take his next duty station June 28th. His replacement Cathy Barrington is my next commander, and I am excited to get to know her and the family. It is her third time being stationed here at F.E. Warren and they are so excited to be back.
No question this week, as I had many events to share with you. Have a great weekend and I encourage you to get to the Depot tonight and enjoy the first of 15 Friday’s on the Plaza. I have been hearing from City Staff that Float Like a Buffalo is a great band.
If you have a question for me, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.
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