The West End Neighborhood mixed use development is an ambitious one but meets a variety of community needs. Plans are to develop in the West End of Cheyenne, Wyoming consistent with the approved Missile Driver Corridor Plan.
The proposed project includes the former Hitching Post Inn site and adjacent city sports / recreation property.
The West End Neighborhood project targets a large affordable housing need in Cheyenne. The vast majority of those needing housing will be those households who earn between 0 and 80% of the county’s Median Family Income. The project will work with Habitat for Humanity and the Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) programs for first-time home buyers.
Based on a 2017 housing needs survey completed by the WCDA, Laramie county has 9,520 substandard housing units and based on incremental growth, an additional 4,074 dwelling units will be needed by 2020. Out of this need
WCM envisions a project positioned to target those wishing to incorporate more creativity in their business and day-to-day lives seeking to build equity in them selves or improving their housing situations. From a larger community perspective, the project supports and implements Cheyenne and Laramie County community development goals by enhancing the social and cultural experience for current and future residents through a mixed-use creative intentional community and possibly improving blighted property – the Hitching Post Inn site. The project also nurtures economic development by providing housing for primary jobs and also space for local low-impact businesses to expand and entrepreneurs to flourish.
Based on a 2014 economic development report by Cheyenne LEADS and a 2017 report by the Wyoming Community Development Authority there is a big need for housing, particularly affordable housing in Cheyenne and Laramie County.
The West End Neighborhood offers the full range of benefits to Cheyenne with regards to affordable housing as a key economic development objective:
- Available housing for all income groups helps a community retain jobs and retail stores, and helps business owners attract and retain quality and reliable workers.
- The job creation and expansion impact is strongest if workers reside in the community. Employees are able to live near employment centers and thus are better able to report to work on time and have time to improve their job skills or get an education.
- Improves ability of communities and businesses to attract and retain workers.
- For a community, housing ties people together. It fosters a sense of place and local identity. It plays an important role in a economic sustainability and development.
- New construction and management of a property creates new employment and generates multiple ripple effects that strengthen the local economy.
- Workforce housing creates a more stable environment for children and helps them perform better in school.
- Enables lower-wage earners to get into a home and begin building equity. A house payment is generally less expensive than rent, which increases disposable income.
- Helps improve distressed areas and strengthen community and neighborhood pride.
- Increases property values and property tax revenue to communities.
- Creates family stability since wage earners work nearby and not commuter-distance away.
- Housing plays a key role in individual welfare and often represents the single-largest family expense/investment.
The project meets this housing need through a mixed-use development consisting of owner occupied and rental, universally-accessible senior and intergenerational cohousing dwelling units – detached and duplexes, civic and community spaces and appropriate retail that would support the community such as a coffee shop, offices, live-work options. A site map is attached.
The West End Neighborhood also is interested in innovative continuous care, including intergenerational “green houses” as championed by Bill Thomas for caregivers who could live “on site” in the cohousing community with their disabled family members who need more intensive and specialized health care nearby.
The target market is wide open and consists of intergenerational individuals and families, as well as seniors over 50 years of age, who may be local or from out of town “empty nesters” and wanting to downsize, “vigorous retired” people wanting to stay active and age in a community setting. In support of this, the project will investigate compatible services such as personal care, urgent care.
The project is a public – private partnership with strong private sector partners and the affordable housing component involving participation by local, state and federal government agencies. The project is economically viable with a balance among strong equity from the public and private non-profit sectors, debt financing and sales/lease.