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Cheyenne Civic Center Commons Project Moves Forward

Joy Greenwald, Townsquare Media
Joy Greenwald, Townsquare Media

After nearly two-and-a-half hours of discussion and a last-minute amended substitute Monday night, the Cheyenne City Council approved an ordinance to create a Civic Center Commons Oversight Team (CPOT) to complete the West Edge project.

The CPOT will be comprised of Mayor Marian Orr, Council President Dicky Shanor, Council Vice President Dr. Mark Rinne and one councilman from Ward I and will work with existing project manager DHM Design Corporation.

“We already have them under contract to design it and do the project management, so it was redundant and a waste of extra money to hire a project manager to manage the project manager,” said Dr. Rinne. “I think this is a good compromise.”

Dr. Rinne had originally pushed for a seven-member management team, but says the CPOT may be “more manageable.”

“The mayor and the attorney had some issues that there may be some conflicts within departments or having certain department members being on it,” said Dr. Rinne. “A seven-member body is even more unwieldy, so I’m happy with the way this turned out.”

But councilman Richard Johnson and Mayor Orr voted against the ordinance, arguing that the governing body didn’t have time to look over an amended ordinance proposed by Shanor, which called for the creation of the CPOT.

“We haven’t had any chance to reflect on this at all,” said Johnson. “Anytime they bring forth a surprise amendment on third reading when there’s no council comment at two Public Service Committees makes me nervous.”

“I too want to see this go forward, but I really believe that passing laws, and we’re talking about a law, at the eleventh hour without really having time to take a look at things sets a dangerous precedent,” said Orr.

Dr. Rinne says the CPOT will immediately begin working with DHM on the roughly $5.9 million project — which is being funded by the 2012 sixth-penny sales tax, FEMA, State Loan and Investment Board and Wyoming Business Council grants — and will be charged with sending an extension request to FEMA by July 1.

“Everybody’s forgotten that the sixth-penny and FEMA monies will be used for drainage,” said Dr. Rinne. “They can design a dual function facility that will handle the drainage and then we can do the landscaping or add whatever amenities we want with the Business Council money or our own monies and Pando Park is a great example.”

Dr. Rinne says if the city doesn’t use FEMA, sixth-penny or general fund reserves, the project will have to be paid for with other funds.

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