Initiative #8: Regional Assets and Infrastructure

These action steps are outlined in the Community and Economic Development strategy. Below are the action steps, but the full document includes the case studies, as well.

Objective

Advocate for investments in high-priority transportation, economic, and social infrastructure that is central to our economic prosperity and long-term vision.


Action 8.1: Support efforts to expand transportation capacity and options along the Front Range.

Greater Cheyenne lies at the northern tip of the Front Range - a series of communities running along Interstate 25 (1-25) through Colorado and north of the Wyoming border. The 1-25 corridor is critical to Greater Cheyenne's mobility, connectivity to markets, and economic competitiveness; its labor shed encompass communities to the South along 1-25 and access to Denver International Airport (DIA) is critical for resident and business travel. The business community has prioritized advocacy efforts related to transportation infrastructure along the Front Range in recent years, attempting to work with partners in Colorado to advance bi-state collaboration and convey the significance of projects in Colorado to Greater Cheyenne's (and Wyoming's) competitiveness and well-being. Colorado has recently secured federal funding to complement state and local contributions that will widen 1-25 and install an express lane for a key stretch of the interstate with a northern terminus in Fort Collins. Continued efforts to advocate for enhancements north of Fort Collins and other improvements to east-west connectivity (notably Interstate 80) should remain long-term priorities for the community. Similarly, efforts to advance a potential high speed rail solution along the Front Range should continue. While a bi-state solution to such infrastructure will unquestionably be a challenge, the potential development of rail connectivity between DIA and northern Colorado commuters will still provide some form of transportation alternative for Greater Cheyenne residents that are willing to "park and ride." A feasibility study of a proposed hyperloop line connecting Denver and Cheyenne recently funding to enter the second stage.


Action 8.2: Proactively support the retention, expansion, and attraction of federal and state investments in Greater Cheyenne including but not limited to F.E. Warren Air Force Base, the Wyoming National Guard, state government operations, and new investment opportunities.

At present, Greater Cheyenne's economy is rooted in government operations - most notably, F.E. Warren Air Force Base and State of Wyoming operations. These institutions are directly responsible for thousands of jobs and indirectly support thousands more in the area; it would be a mistake for the community to take any of these institutions or their impact on the community for granted. Military communities and their community institutions understand that they must be great partners, persistently proactive in supporting their military installations and advocating for their retention and expansion. Greater Cheyenne is no exception. The community will need to continue to prioritize its relationships and support for F.E Warren by advocating for investments and development that address high-priority issues for military personnel and their families. Principal among these is housing. The Wyoming Business Council recently recommended the approval of $4.3 million in grant monies to support acquisition costs and infrastructure provision for a large, mixed-use development near the base which would, in part, provide housing for military families. Advancing this project and others like it that will help improve the stock of affordable housing is an important component of the community's strategy to support base operations.

Additionally, opportunities may exist to proactively recruit new investments to the community. While there is a clear desire to promote economic diversification and encourage private sector employment growth, the community has the potential to attract new federal and state investments. Through intentional federal advocacy efforts and proactive relationship development with UW and others, the community has the potential to recruit new federal facilities, new research and development centers (such as NCAR), and/or new missions to F.E. Warren.


Action 8.3: Facilitate continued dialogue regarding the potential development of two key amenities that many residents highlighted as central to their vision: an indoor Recreational Center and a Children's Museum.

Throughout the stakeholder input process, many residents lamented the recent failures of bond initiatives supporting a new community recreational center and a new children's museum. While these two projects failed to gain the support of the majority of voters as previously proposed, there is clearly still tremendous support for both initiatives among the roughly 2,400 residents that participated in the public input process. The community should continue to seek ways to advance these projects, particularly a recreational center that can provide indoor fitness and recreational opportunities during the winter months.

Rachel Girt