Community Assessment: Pride
The Community Assessment is a critical step in understanding the Cheyenne area’s position and the issues that it faces in an increasingly competitive environment for new jobs, talent, and corporate investment. Below is just a segment from the full Community Assessment report.
Reaching Consensus: Greater Cheyenne’s Identity and Vision
It is clear that many stakeholders worry that the community and its various organizations and institutions engaged in community, economic, and workforce development are occasionally pursuing disparate strategies that support disparate visions for the community. There is concern, and rightfully so, that this lack of consensus and the actions that accompany it could serve as a barrier to progress and prosperity – some stakeholders already believe that it is. This strategic planning process can and should help identify and advance the aforementioned consensus vision, with appropriately aligned strategies to support that end.
One viewpoint of stakeholders was that keeping Greater Cheyenne sparse, with much space between neighbors and minimal traffic, was consistent with the historical, physical development patterns of the Front Range. These residents seek to maintain existing community character and generally speaking, do not support efforts to “modernize” the area and attract more investment if it comes at the expense of the community’s heritage and character that they’ve come to love.
On the other hand, many business leaders and some young professionals voiced the concern that Greater Cheyenne suffers from an image problem associated with Western heritage and “cowboy culture.” Many expressed concerns that these perceptions are often derived from and/or reinforced by national perceptions of the State of Wyoming. There are many embedded concerns associated with this identity. Some feel that it reflects a particularly conservative town that lacks a “willingness to pay” for certain community attributes, from a community recreation center to a children’s museum. Others express concerns that Greater Cheyenne “can’t live and die on Frontier Days” as an economic development strategy. Some also believe that the community is limited at times by “a legislature that is scared of super conservative groups,” which, in some opinions, communicates to the rest of the world that the state and Greater Cheyenne isn’t the progressive, forward-thinking, innovative region that is at the heart of many residents’ vision. These same stakeholders are perhaps most highly concerned with the impact of image and identify on talent attraction and retention; they worry that young people are choosing to live in communities along the Front Range that are viewed as more “progressive” and which have demonstrated a willingness to invest in community features and amenities that make them relatively attractive.
Quality of Life and Community Vision: Focusing and Prioritizing
In addition, input participants reported that more is still needed to make the area an attractive place to live for young professionals. One respondent shared that “some of our talented people choose to live in Ft. Collins instead of Cheyenne…no one wants to live in Cheyenne where there is nothing to do with families like a community center or a revitalized downtown.” Young professionals indicated that they would like to see higher-density, mixed-use developments that support a live-work-play lifestyle.