The final piece of the public financing puzzle for the upcoming housing and commercial development near Warren gate 2 has been put in place. In 2018, on a recommendation from the Wyoming Business Council, the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board approved a $3 million grant along with a $1.3 million loan for the project. On Wednesday the WBC Board voted to adjust their rules to release $400,000 of the grant funds to be used by the city of Cheyenne right away for necessary water and sewer infrastructure design. This change moves the previously stalled project forward.
For years, leadership at Warren Air Force Base has wrestled with the lack of affordable housing in Cheyenne for their airmen. Commanders have been forced to stretch Air Force regulations permitting some Warren personel to live in Northern Colorado and commute to the base.
Through a creative Enhanced Use Lease, there is a way ahead to develop housing and some commercial space. As it is built, this project will help alleviate the housing crunch and create opportunity for some commercial enterprises in Cheyenne to expand, and for new ones to come to Cheyenne. A lot of work is yet to be done: the city must complete annexation of the property, an enviromental review done, and a lease agreement signed. But the WBC announcement this week gets the project over a major hurdle.
This approximately 74 acres of land is at the Missile Drive interchange with Interstate 25, some of which has been used in the past for Frontier Days off site parking.
While the project still has a long way to go to come to fruition, it is time to take a breath and congratulate all those involved in accomplishing this groundwork. Many Air Force members over recent years have had a hand in finding a creative solution to a persistent problem. It is never easy to move an idea forward that is outside the norms of government projects.
In this time of severe division on many levels of the political spectrum, this enhanced use lease project has brought together our federal, state, county, and local leaders with a common goal. Cheyenne’s economic development groups usually work well together, and they have again played a big role in moving this project along.
The old cliché is apt. This has in many ways been ‘like herding cats.’ In this case the cats have been mostly moving in the same, and right, direction.
The importance of a more timely development of this property is key to Warren and Cheyenne as we prepare for the implementation over the next 10 or more years of a new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. The GBSD will replace the Minuteman III ICBM system in place at the 3 missile bases, including FE Warren. The availability of suitable housing is one of many factors that will be used by the Air Force to determine which base will be the first to get the new GBSD. And Cheyenne needs to be first.
On a local basis, the economic impact of all that is involved in putting the new system in place will be upwards of $8 billion. That will make the GBSD the largest economic development project ever undertaken in Wyoming. The housing provided by the enhance use lease is one necessary step in the process of making Cheyenne and Warren ready for this huge project.
If you own, manage, or work at a local business you have the opportunity to be impacted positively by the work to be done bringing the GBSD on line at Warren AFB. Here is an opportunity for your business to grow. If you are a contractor, be sure to become a registered Air Force supplier. This will enable the defense contractors and others working on the project to find you and use your products and services.
If you think your local business is not the type that will be impacted, think again. Workers, contractors, managers, and professionals involved in a project of this magnitude will need places to live, eat, pray, and play. They will need health care, entertainment, financial services, grocery items, auto repair, shopping and recreation opportunities….all kinds of local products and services. Those billions of dollars coming into the local economy will circulate around and around helping us all to prosper, if we are prepared to take advantage of this wonderful circumstance.
The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce is providing loads of information, direction, and contacts to help you get on board and be ready for growth and success. Check out the Chamber’s GBSD website gbsdbound.com and join the Chamber to get up to date information as things develop for this major project.