(Lander, Wyo.) – The Lander City Council on Tuesday evening expressed interest in continuing to pursue the land acquisition for the Lander Rodeo Grounds relocation despite the fact that completing the project is no longer a priority for the state and federal government.
At the start of the month the city was informed by the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration that, despite the work on the project for the last several years, funding would no longer be available to relocate the rodeo grounds to make room for additional hangar space. (Read more about the announcement here.)
Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud said that initially the city was of the understanding that the entire project’s funding was pulled. However, in statements made to the media, he said, the state made it sound like the funding to purchase the property was still available.
WyDOT Aeronautics Division Planning and Program Manager Christy Yaffa told County10.com that the remaining balance of the $2 million was still available to the city, but the estimated $6 or $7 million to rebuild the rodeo grounds and develop the hangar space would not be available. Roughly $1.4 million of the $2 million has not yet been spent.
Michaud and Councilor Cade Maestas said the $2 million were allocated by the state Legislature, and that it makes sense the funding would still be available for the project.
Maestas said former Rep. Del McOmie, R-Lander, had suggested the city move forward with purchasing the Shearer property and that it could be used as leverage to keep the rodeo grounds relocation on the state’s radar.
Mayor Mick Wolfe, Council President Nancy Webber, Councilor Monte Richardson and Maestas all agreed that moving forward in some way was better than letting the entire project die.
“If we can go ahead and buy the property, then we should,” Wolfe said.
Michaud was instructed to schedule a meeting with local legislators on how best to move forward.