Thursday, September 20, 2012

In the future, Wyoming travelers may yearn to be stranded at Denver's revamped airport

I happened upon Fast Company's Co.Exist (and Co-Create and Co.Design) during my perambulations around the Internet. All three are great places to waste (I mean, "spend") some time exploring new inventions and trends and ideas and foodways. Next time I'm in Copenhagen, I'm going to try to get a table at Noma for a plate of ants and blueberries, or barbecue carrots with sorrel sauce and hay ash. There is a hidden beauty to suburban sprawl -- and an array of stunning photos is offered in evidence. We are wasting our time harnessing wind at ground level -- we should be tethering high-flying wind-generating kites at 10 kilometers. Lots of them.

And airports aren't just for passing through any more. Munich's new airport offers an entire Oktoberfest experience, Hong Kong International offers an outdoor nine-hole golf course and a 350-seat IMAX theatre, Lagos's new airport will feature a duty-free shop with bargain-basement prices on kitchen appliances, and Changi International in Singapore features a Balinese-themed swimming pool. The airport was built on the site of one of Japan's most notorious World War II POW camps, the setting for James Clavell's compelling novel, "King Rat." Wonder if you can buy the book at the airport?

And here's what co.Exist had to say about Denver's soon-to-be-renovated DIA:

Architect's rendering of the new DIA
The Denver International Airport is getting more “Colorado.” It’s being expanded and transformed into a quasi city center, connected both physically and emotionally to downtown Denver and the region. A Westin hotel and conference center (with a dynamite rooftop pool and views of the Rockies) is part of the expansion program along with an outdoor public plaza for staging community events and a new fast rail line (and station) that will whisk travelers and Denver residents alike to/from downtown Denver.
Cheyenne can't compete with that. However, our new airport terminal may help airlines do a much better job shuttling us to DIA for the ambience that surrounds a Thanksgiving flight to Aunt Martha's or a business trip to D.C. Heck, Wyoming travelers may soon yearn to be stranded at DIA due to a holiday blizzard.

It's interesting to note that the new DIA will connect people "physically and emotionally to downtown Denver and the region." It may soon be easier to fly than drive from Cheyenne to Denver for a football weekend or for a weekend of shopping and entertainment. While Cheyenne long ago ceded Front Range leadership to Denver, this new transportation complex could make that reality permanent. But Cheyenne can hop on this bandwagon, making sure that we're a primary feeder hub to DIA and Denver. We haven't done a very good job of that in the past. By enhancing those things that make us great, we'll be a player in the region.

That doesn't mean making Cheyenne a mini-Denver. It means making Cheyenne more Cheyenne. As Mayor Kaysen has said time and again, one of our priorities has to be the revitalization of downtown. Keep at it, Cheyenne. Make Cheyenne more Cheyenne by saving its historic central business district. Nobody makes a destination of a place that excels in strip malls or Wal-Marts. They do want to travel to a place that has character. That's what Cheyenne Frontier Days is all about -- "Live the Legend!" It's the Old West meeting the New West. The Old West is rodeo and cowboys and country-western music. The New West means a vibrant downtown with brewpubs and restaurants and rock concerts and art galleries and western clothing stores mixed with funky boutiques. The distinctive music and art that's offered at these places should come from local and regional musicians and artists and artisans. The restaurant food should come from Southern Wyoming (SoWy) and Northern Colorado (NoCo) farms and ranches. Some of it can be grown on rooftop gardens and greenhouses. What a thriving place downtown Cheyenne will be. Denverites may want to hop on a plane at DIA and fly north to Cheyenne because there's no place like it on earth. Imagine that.

Architect's rendering of new Cheyenne airport terminal.

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