Saturday, April 21, 2012

Check out the new Cheyenne Botanic Gardens web site -- and the proposed new building

Architect's rendering of the proposed Cheyenne Botanic Gardens building
The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens has a new web site. I don't know how new it is because this is my first check-in of the growing season. But it looks fantastic. It's a product of Warehouse Twenty One, the very fine local "full-service marketing firm" that also is working with us at the Wyoming Arts Council. We, too, will soon have a new web site, logo, social media strategy, etc., from WH21. Its staff is creative and energetic and a pleasure to work with.

The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens has grown dramatically during my two decades in Cheyenne. It recently added the Paul Smith Children's Village and its new facility will be on the next sixth penny tax ballot. The renovation/expansion cost is $14 million, with an additional $2 million for operations maintenance. And, yes, I'm voting for it. The only time I've voted against a city building project was the bloated $55 million rec center project of a couple years ago. The 2012 ballot has another proposal for a rec center that makes more sense.

Why is it important to have a new CBG building? On the aesthetic side -- the current building is way too small and cramped. Not enough space to grow seedlings for the gardens and to educate the public about our High Plains oasis. More room is needed to showcase those plants and flowers that grow in more tropical climes.

People have never been more interested in sustainable living. Everyone is a gardener, it seems, and no better place to feed the frenzy than the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. There are two community garden plots adjacent to the CBG grounds. People need guidance on how to coax their own veggies from this rocky, high altitude soil. I've been fighting the good fight for years, folks -- it ain't easy.

My wife Chris and I love the summer evening concerts and plays on the CBG grounds. A larger facility will enable Director Shane Smith and staff to program more year-round events. Our community is growing and so is the demand for quality events.   

Finally, projects such as the new Botanic Gardens building show that Cheyenne is serious about being a great place to live. Our public library has been voted the best in the U.S. We boast one of the region's best greenway systems. The Historic Depot Plaza downtown is a gem, although the rest of downtown still needs a lot of work. But things are looking up with the Hynds Building project and the Dinneen complex which will hold the first 17th Street Art Fair in its parking lot this summer.

To sum it up -- if you believe in a vital Cheyenne, you need to vote yes on the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.

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