The City of Cheyenne’s West Edge Project combines the goals of delivering storm drainage management, brownfield redevelopment, and park amenities in one package. In turn, the City aims to trigger sustained economic development through the creation of the gathering places envisioned in the plans for park lands and green spaces. The City turned to Ayres Associates to help make it all happen.
The project’s initial funding was a $1 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Coalition Partners Assessment Grant that Ayres applied for on behalf of the City, Laramie County, and the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority. The EPA grant was based on plans for stormwater management and stormwater quality improvements for Cheyenne’s Lower Capitol Basin. The area encompasses much of the original city, including the historic downtown and near west side.
The vision for the project is to provide storm drainage improvements within a package of park amenities. This park will feature trees and curved walkways providing links to social gathering spaces and the Greater Cheyenne Greenway System. The goal is to leverage the initial grant dollars to attract millions more.
To date, Ayres has assisted the City in acquiring over $17 million in federal, state, and local funding to jumpstart the West Edge Project, including an additional $1 million EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Cleanup Grant and a $200,000 EPA Brownfield Area-Wide Planning Grant.
Additionally, Ayres staff secured $132,000 from the Wyoming Business Council Community Development Block Grant Program for Economic Development to purchase property. Our staff prepared and submitted a successful grant application to the U.S. Department of Commerce Public Works and Economic Development Administration (EDA) Program for $1,689,000 to build an interceptor sewer system and alleviate downtown flooding. We prepared a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program for West Edge flood control. The grant award was for $3 million for flood relief on a former brownfield site. Along with a $1,236,866 grant award from the Wyoming Mineral Royalty Grant program prepared by Ayres for West Edge flood control, we assisted City leadership in securing $4.8 million in Six Penny Tax collection for the brownfield development initiative.
Ayres is managing brownfield redevelopment efforts, investigating soil and groundwater impacts from historical land uses, evaluating remedial options, evaluating stormwater mitigation opportunities, completing EPA reports, and providing community outreach while creating new, vibrant public venues where arts and cultural investments will bring people into downtown Cheyenne and trigger further economic development.
Livability improvements will include heightened public safety; sharper community identity; increased affordable housing and workplace options; improved pedestrian accommodations; and greater collaboration among civic, nonprofit, and for-profit partners. The project will help to keep Cheyenne’s young professionals living, working, and playing in the Capitol City and position Cheyenne as a unique, vibrant urban experience rivaling that of other Front Range communities.
Ayres has assisted the Coalition in grant implementation, including Phase 1 and 2 ESAs, cleanup planning, funding acquisition, planning and outreach activities, engineering, and other support roles. Careful assessments are prioritizing redevelopment of properties where all three needs are present: economic stimulus, stormwater management improvements, and environmental enhancement through the elimination of blight.