City withdrew Community Readiness Grant Thursday; Will rework it for August grants meeting

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors reviewed Business Ready Community (BRC) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) requests at its board meeting Thursday in Laramie. A request from the City of Riverton on a $1.5 million Community Readiness Grant was withdrawn at the meeting.

“We were told the staff was not going to recommend our project for funding, basically because they didn’t understand what it was for,” Warpness said Friday morning in his office. “So we decided to withdraw the application so we could answer their questions and have a better application for their August meeting.”

Warpness said the city was requesting the grant to purchase a parcel of land north of the Walmart store, so it could be turned from state owned to public land and thus available for development. Warpness and the Riverton delegation noted that Riverton is landlocked to the north, because of the land now under the control of the Wyoming Department of Corrections. In the last legislature, St. Sen. Eli Bebout of Riverton was successful in having that parcel declared state surplus, so it could be developed. The city would have to bid for the land when it was put up for sale, so there is no guarantee that the city’s bid would be accepted. “But that’s okay, we want it in public hands so it can be developed and we can grow the city,” Warpness said.

The application will be rewritten to address some of the Business Council concerns and questions that were asked, and resubmitted in August.

In one of the many actions taken Thursday, the WBC did approve a grant request from the Fremont County Commissioners for funding to improved handicapped accessibility in the courthouse in Lander. Details below:

Here is a recap of Thursday’s meeting:

The Business Council’s Agribusiness, Business and Industry, Rural Development/Main Street, and Regional Office divisions reported on their recent work.  The board evaluated 19 BRC applications totaling $17,759,523 and 15 CDBG applications totaling $2,857,618.

BUSINESS READY COMMUNITY GRANT APPLICATIONS

The board recommended the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) approve 19 BRC grants totaling $17,759,523.  If the recommendations are awarded by the SLIB, $46,486,232 will be left for the rest of the biennium.  Before making the final recommendation to the board, staff reviews each application, conducts a site visit, and presents to a board subcommittee.  Board recommendations will be forwarded to the SLIB for approval at its June 19 meeting in Cheyenne at 8 a.m. in room B-63 of the Herschler Building.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The Business Council administers the Business Ready Community Grant and Loan Program, which provides financing for publicly owned infrastructure that serves the needs of businesses and promotes economic development within Wyoming communities. The Business Council board is required by statute to forward BRC grant recommendations to the SLIB for final approval. The SLIB is made up of the five statewide elected officials: Gov. Matt Mead, Secretary of State Max Maxfield, State Treasurer Mark Gordon, State Auditor Cynthia Cloud, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.

BRC Business Committed Applications

• Alpine requested a $2,949,425 Business Committed grant to construct a 20,000 square foot building and utility extensions for the expansion of Melvin Brewing. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Laramie requested a $3 million Business Committed grant and a $3,619,184 loan to construct a 20,000 square foot administrative and laboratory building for the expansion of Western Research Institute (WRI) adjacent to its Advanced Technology Center.  (Laramie withdrew its application for further review)

BRC Senior Care Applications

Albany County requested a $1 million Senior Care grant for the construction of an inpatient hospice facility. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Sheridan requested a $500,000 Senior Care grant for the construction of the Sheridan Senior Center Day Break Facility. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

BRC Community Readiness Applications

Afton requested a $3 million Community Readiness grant for public infrastructure including: an enhanced sewer line along Second Avenue; sewer line up-sizing along Lincoln Street from 2nd to 4th Avenues; and street surfacing enhancement along 1st Avenue and Highway 89. (Recommended to the SLIB $600,000 with an amendment calling on the Afton City Council to explore the possibility of adding a 1.5 percent fee to sewer lines to generate recapture funds for Afton economic development)

Edgerton requested a $243,800 Community Readiness grant to extend water and sewer lines and some road improvements to make a commercial area ready for development.(Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Lincoln County requested a $1,401,456 Community Readiness grant to install conduit necessary for a fiber line to be looped through Sage Junction. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Rawlins requested a $442,000 Community Readiness grant to construct a new roadway to connect Airport Road to the Comfort Inn entrance off Cedar Street on the east entrance to Rawlins. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Riverton requested a $1.5 million Community Readiness grant for the purchase of land located north of Federal Boulevard between Webbwood and Honor Farm Roads to be developed as a business, retail and potential housing park within the city. (Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness withdrew the application for further review)

Torrington requested a $1,887,101 Community Readiness grant to construct a new electric substation, 34.5 kV transmission line and underground line extension into the Cold Springs Business Park. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

BRC Community Enhancement Applications

Albany County requested a $500,000 Community Enhancement grant to renovate the county-owned Nellie Iles school building which houses the Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Center.  (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Casper requested a $500,000 Community Enhancement grant for Phase I of the Platte River Revival. The project is a restoration project for 13.5 miles of the North Platte River and its banks that traverse Casper. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Cowley requested a $500,000 Community Enhancement grant for completion of the Cowley Recreation Complex Project. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Evanston requested a $498,655 Community Enhancement grant for the Bear Meadows Enhancement Project. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Gillette requested a $500,000 Community Enhancement grant for the convertible street/public plaza project. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Greybull requested a $320,000 Community Enhancement grant for improvements to the Herb Asp Community Center, informally known as the Greybull Recreation Center. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Kemmerer requested a $500,000 Community Enhancement grant for improvements to the Kemmerer Sports Field Access and Parking Facilities.  (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Lovell requested a $31,695 Community Enhancement grant for improvements to the Lovell Free Camper Park.  (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Natrona County requested a $500,000 Community Enhancement grant to build a Biathlon Complex on Casper Mountain adjacent to the current Nordic ski trails. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Park County requested a $485,391 Community Enhancement grant for building a facility and other improvements to the Park County Fairgrounds. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Rock Springs requested a $500,000 Community Enhancement grant for renovations and expansion of the existing Rock Springs Community and Visitor Complex. (Recommended to the SLIB in full)

Community Development Block Grant

The board evaluated 15 CDBG applications totaling $2,857,618. Before making the final recommendation to the board, staff reviews each CDBG application, conducts a site visit (except CDBG planning grants) and presents to a board subcommittee.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The Business Council administers the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), which is a federally funded pass through grant program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

CDBG Planning Grant Applications

Bear River requested a $37,500 CDBG Planning Grant to create a strategic general plan. (Board approved in full)

Greybull requested a $15,000 CDBG Planning Grant to conduct a study which will aid in deciding whether to purchase a parcel of land in Big Horn County from the state of Wyoming.  (Board approved in full)

Saratoga requested a $49,500 CDBG Planning Grant to update its existing master plan. (Board approved in full)

Sheridan requested a $15,000 CDBG Planning Grant to evaluate the feasibility of constructing a new permanent facility to house the Administrative Services and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) program of Sheridan Rehabilitation Enterprises of North Eastern Wyoming RENEW. (Board approved in full)

Star Valley Ranch requested a $15,000 CDBG Planning Grant to develop a municipal master plan (Board approved in full)

CDBG Community Facilities Applications

Albany County requested a $500,000 CDBG Community Facilities grant to purchase a new building for the Developmental Preschool and Daycare Center to meet increasing needs for adequate office and work space used by additional therapists and other staff. (Board approved in full)

Albany County requested a $500,000 CDBG Community Facilities grant to provide additional inpatient hospice services to terminally ill residents of the city of Laramie and Albany County through Hospice of Laramie. (Board approved staff recommendation for partial funding of $408,744)

Evanston requested a $215,746 CDBG Community Facilities grant to expand the Evanston Early Childhood building. (Board approved staff recommendation for partial funding of $179,746)

Guernsey requested a $197,792 CDBG Community Facilities grant to add a 2,000 square foot metal building addition to the town fire hall.  (Board approved in full)

CDBG Accessibility Grant Applications

Basin requested a $38,800 CDBG Handicapped Accessibility Grant to remove the old bathroom in the back of the town hall office and replace it with an accessible, ADA compliant bathroom. (Board approved in full)

Fremont County requested a $150,000 CDBG Handicapped Accessibility grant to provide handicap accessibility upgrades to the county courthouse. (Board approved in full)

Kirby requested an $86,000 CDBG Handicapped Accessibility grant to improve the handicap accessibility to the existing town hall. (Board approved in full)

Mills requested a $462,280 CDBG Public Infrastructure grant to rehabilitate and upgrade water storage tank #3.  (Board approved in full)

Rock Springs requested a $300,000 CBDG Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) grant to renovate the existing Rock Springs Community Visitor Complex. (Board approved in full)

CDBG Downtown Façade Grant Applications

Rawlins requested a $250,000 Downtown Development Grant to eliminate a National Objective of Slum and Blight project and to stimulate brick and mortar redevelopment in the downtown area.  (Board approved in full)

The mission of the Business Council is to facilitate the economic growth of Wyoming. The Business Council, a state government agency, concentrates its efforts on providing assistance for existing Wyoming companies and start-ups, helping communities meet their development and diversification needs, and recruiting new firms and industries targeted to complement the state’s assets. For more information, please visit www.wyomingbusiness.org.