Judged by the Past 10 Years, the Next 10 Look Good for Laramie
LARAMIE -- At the City of Laramie’s work session July 23, council members were updated on the 10-year economic development plan, but the main priority for council is to ensure the plan includes action.
The Laramie City Council has contracted with the Pittsburgh-based consulting firm, The Fourth Economy, to update its 10-year progress plan.
Mayor Joe Shumway talked about many of the accomplishments that came about from the last 10-year plan.
“The past 10 years have been marked with growth, development, and stability . . . we’ve had the expansion of the Cirrus Sky Technology Park, with the UL coming in and expanding. The Empress lot was cleared, which was a blight to the city, and then constructed Big Hollow, which I think is a great boon to the community.
“Tungsten was constructed and expanded. Bright Agrotech, which is now Plenty, came from an incubator at the University of Wyoming, has grown and is very successful, not only nationally, but as an international business. HIVIS relocated to Laramie and they expanded. We have a new rail spur south of Laramie, which is in place and has a lot of potentials.
“The Turner Tract has continued to grow with the development of residential, multi-family homes. Also, with the new high school which happened in the last 10 years, we’ve really started to in-fill the Turner Tract, which was our goal with the construction of the $110 million high school. Main Street now has achieved 95% of available business occupancy which has been a great accomplishment.
“There’s been $1 billion in new construction invested with the University of Wyoming campus projects. Also, the Snowy Range Bridge has been completed and received the 2018 Engineering Project of the Year in Wyoming.”
With the new plan in place, Mayor Shumway then covered some items that will happen in the 10 years looking forward.
“There has been $300 million dedicated to student dorms, along with $200 million more for University of Wyoming construction projects on campus. $9 million expansion of the regional airport, including a regional drone port which a lot of people don’t know about yet, but will be a great addition to the community, which will be one of two in the West.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars in redevelopment dollars will be spent along 3rd St., North 3rd, North 4th, and also West Laramie projects. As you know, we still have interest from the Dollar General store which will be coming soon to West Laramie,” Shumway said.
“There is a $15 million public works center on the northern edge of the city that will be completed in the next 10 years. There is going to be a reconstruction of Ivinson Ave. in cooperation with the university. That’s going to be modernized and rebuilt which will give us a corridor between the university and the historic downtown district. Pilot Hill is very close to being completed, which will open up recreational opportunities and trails to the community.”
Shumway said there must be – and will be - more cooperation between the University of Wyoming, the City of Laramie, and Albany County.
“We’re working toward that goal, and it will be accomplished.”
Shumway also gave his vision of the next 20 years.
“I think we’re going to see a 1.5-2% growth. If we see 2% population growth by 2035, we’ll have 50,000 population in Laramie, which will make us a ‘first-class city.’ With that population growth, businesses such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and others, will automatically be coming to Laramie,” said Shumway.
“With this economic growth, for anyone born in Laramie in the next 20 years, there will be abundant jobs. For people who love Laramie and want to stay here, now they can, because those pieces will be in place.
“And finally, in the next 20 years, we can expect the Casper Aquifer will still be protected, all the streets in West Laramie will be paved, 15th St. will still be open, and the City of Laramie will become a growing and prosperous model community for the state and the nation.”
Shumway gives credit to the City of Laramie Economic Development team, the Steering Committee, which will guide the city through the next 10 years of economic development.
Members include Sarah Reese, economic and community initiatives coordinator for the city; Laramie Chamber Business Alliance President Brad Enzi; Laramie Downtown Business Alliance President Trey Sherwood; and representatives from the Downtown Development Authority, Wyoming Business Council, the UW Business Incubator, and the economic development professionals at the university.
“The economic growth ideas we’re getting from them have also been supplemented with our consulting firms, which have been two different groups. One called Fourth Economy, which we’re working with to the end of 2019. Then Retail Coach, who came in and gave us some guidelines for not only downtown but for the city on how to keep our growth maintained and steady here,” Shumway said.