News from Wyoming cities
by Jonathan Woodward
Casper: Staff Change
Andrew Nelson has been hired as the new supervisor for the Casper Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The Casper Metropolitan Planning Area, the second largest urbanized area in Wyoming, provides program and fiscal oversight for transportation planning in the region. The Casper MPO consists of five local governments and a transit system operating demand response and fixed route services. Prior to accepting the position as MPO Supervisor, Nelson held positions in Casper City Finance, the Casper Municipal Court, and the Mountainland Association of Governments (Utah) Community Development Block Grant program. Nelson has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University.
Cheyenne: Projects and Plan Cheyenne Update
Tesla Motors, an electric car company, has built a charge station in Cheyenne. It consists of four chargers and is located at the Frontier Mall. This station provides charging services for Tesla motorists who are in-state or passing through. It is conveniently located near services for the motorists who are waiting for their Tesla’s to charge.
Cheyenne and Laramie County are in the process of updating their Comprehensive Plan, “Plan Cheyenne.” It was adopted in 2006 and was the first major comprehensive plan for this region. Plan Cheyenne combines land, transportation and parks and recreation plan. There is anticipated population growth due to energy development. Job growth is projected to expand due to the Swan Ranch development and infrastructure updates for rail and highway served businesses. The transportation plan was also updated and the MPO used travel forecast model to show future traffic patterns.
Laramie: Projects and Housing Study
The City of Laramie, on January 21, 2014, accepted a bid for construction of improvements related to the Cirrus Sky Technology Park. Construction of these improvements is to begin early this Spring, with completion of these improvements in September. The Cirrus Sky Technology Park is a 149 acres site in the north part of the city, designed both to serve prospective data centers and new businesses, as well as to be an expansion area for Laramie’s existing, established tech firms.
The City of Laramie recently updated and approved the Turner Tract Area Plan 2013, which is a 442 acre mixed use business, civic and residential development in southeast Laramie. With over half of the Turner Tract developed, the update recognized existing uses and modified the plan for final development of the remaining acres to maximize the original vision of the mixed use development.
The City of Laramie, Wyoming has contracted with Hanna:Keelan Associates, P.C. to create a new Housing Study. The study will analyze the existing availability, cost, condition, and demand for all levels of housing stock including low-income housing, housing for the elderly, workforce housing, student housing and housing for the upper and middle class. The study is expected to serve as a guide for residential growth for the next 15 years and will help set the framework for residential growth in Laramie. Additional information can be found at www.cityoflaramie.org/housingstudy.
Rock Springs: Projects
Planner Jennifer Shields writes about an update to Bunning Park which is located in the historic downtown area of the City of Rock Springs and was created in 1926. It is considered to be the community’s center and hosts numerous events, gatherings, and activities including the popular “Concerts in the Park” summer series.
While the park itself is attractive with numerous mature trees and amenities, many of the properties surrounding the park are in disrepair, abandoned, or underutilized. This is due in large part to the park and neighborhood location in a FEMA flood plain which prohibits most kinds of new construction and makes it extremely difficult to rehabilitate properties without very costly improvements. These conditions have contributed to the decline and neglect in the neighborhood, and detract from the beauty of the park, its value to the community, and its potential for redevelopment in the near future. In the shorter term, the city has embarked on this process to identify options for making improvements within the parameters of the many restrictions and conditions affecting the area.
The goals of this effort are to improve safety and security in the neighborhood surrounding the park, remove unsightly and blighted conditions in the area, increase usage by providing accessible parking and access, and to encourage park usage by residents and visitors.” Bunning Park Neighborhood Feasibility for Rehabilitation, Beautification, or Adaptive Re-Use Study, Landmark Design, January 2014.
- The WyoPASS Board has added Staci Beecher as Treasurer. Beecher will fill the shoes of Ray Price who is retiring. As the Treasurer for WyoPASS for many years, Price played an integral role in the success of the WyoPASS organization and deserves many thanks. Beecher is a professional planner working for the City of Gillette, and the Board welcomes her as the new treasurer. Megan Nelms, AICP begins her second year as president and is joined by Charles Bloom, AICP of Laramie, Don Threewitt, AICP of Cheyenne, Derek Teini, AICP of Laramie, Kate Dahl of Pinedale and Brandon Cammarata, AICP of Cheyenne.
- WyoPASS is working to incorporate a blog or forum into the website that will be more user- friendly. It is also in the process of updating the bylaws to allow the board be involved with legislative issues in a more timely fashion.
- WYOPASS Spring Conference will be held in Riverton, WY May 15-16, 2014. Contact Megan Nelms for more information: 307-685-8061 (firstname.lastname@example.org)