Economic development leaders are pushing for a project that could help solve F.E. Warren Air Force Base's housing shortage and spur commercial development.

"Housing at a reasonable cost for young airmen is just not able to be found," Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dale Steenbergen told the City Council during a public hearing Monday night.

"The problem has been solved in Minot (and) Great Falls," he added. "If you guys don't solve it in Cheyenne, that tells us that you're not that interested in having a strong military here (or) taking care of your airmen."

The council intends to apply for a Business Ready Community grant and loan to assist with funding the F.E. Warren Air Force Base Enhanced Use Lease Infrastructure Project.

Robert Briggs, Planning and Development Director for the City of Cheyenne, says the project calls for the development of 75.3 acres south of Happy Jack Road, an area commonly known as the Cheyenne Frontier Days "Bull" Lot Park-n-Ride.

"There's a preferred proposal that has been selected by the Air Force that could create an estimated $50 million in residential housing on this property as well as $45 million in commercial development," said Briggs.

"The proposed grant and loan would create water and sewer infrastructure that's necessary to serve this project," Briggs added. "The estimated cost of the improvements are $4.5 million."

Briggs says in addition to helping the roughly 500 to 700 military personnel who commute from Colorado each day, the project has the potential to create some additional commercial activity, ultimately resulting in sales tax dollars and other revenues to the community.

"We have an opportunity through this project to participate with a private developer in the creation of something that's a truly unique project," said Briggs.

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