1)      Strong Business Climate

            The Cheyenne-Laramie County Corporation for Economic Development (LEADS) is a not-for-profit organization that serves as the economic development entity for the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County, Wyoming.  LEADS can assist non-retail businesses in all phases of relocation or expansion in the area, and has been recognized as a premier economic development organization that brings progress and prosperity to all of Laramie County.   The organization’s services include site location, employee training, workforce evaluation, demographic information and financial assistance. (www.cheyenneleads.org)

            Wholly owned by LEADS, the Cheyenne Business Parkway (CBP) encompasses a total of 900 acres immediately east of central Cheyenne and within the city limits off I-80.  The CBP boasts the lowest industrial and commercial land costs of the Front Range cities of the Rocky Mountains, and lowest operating costs in the nation with annexed, platted and zoned parcels from one to 50 acres.  Its strong in-place infrastructure includes water, sewer, electricity, high-volume natural gas and redundant fiber optics telecommunications.  Current companies include: Lowes’ Regional Distribution Center; EchoStar Satellite Uplink Center; Jeld-Wen Window Factory; Truss-Craft; Quark Software; Sierra Trading Post headquarters, distribution and outlet store; Grobet Precision Manufacturing; Van Diest; and Motion Industries.  The CBP has 300 acres available in parcels ranging from a few acres to 50 with a hassle-free 21-day bidding permit approval process.

            Another LEADS property, The North Range Business Park, west of downtown off I-80, sits on 620 acres.  Twenty-one sites on 374 acres are available in parcels from 11 to 100 acres.  This business park offers all the benefits of the Cheyenne Business Parkway east of downtown, and is home to Wal-Mart’s Regional Distribution Center.  It will soon be the location of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) new supercomputer research center.

            The Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce also plays an important role is Cheyenne’s business climate by supporting all efforts to promoting new businesses and helping existing businesses expand.  The Chamber identifies areas for new economic development throughout the region, and establishes mechanisms to ensure that these areas are fully served and protected for economic development.  The greater Cheyenne area is selective about the types of businesses it recruits, resulting in the community achieving its goal of attracting businesses that provide family friendly jobs.  New businesses are attracted to the area because of its positive and favorable business climate.  www.cheyennechamber.org

            Cheyenne has been recognized for its efforts.  The April 2008 issue of Fortune Small Business ranked Cheyenne 84th in the top 100 places in America to live and launch a business.  The magazine paid special attention to the new NCAR supercomputer as a reason to relocate.  It went on to say that the $60 million center, slated to open in 2011, is expected to boost the research profile of the University of Wyoming and act as a technological magnet, creating jobs and business opportunities.  The magazine also took into account a variety of other factors including taxes, employment growth, quality of life and affordable housing.

            According to a study titled “Keeping Jobs in America: Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States 2008,” Wyoming ranked fifth in the nation for its progressive, pro business policies that result in job growth.  The study, conducted by Brent A. Pollina of the corporate relocation firm Pollina Corporate Real Estate, is a comparative evaluation of the job creation and retention efforts of all 50 state governments.  The study is limited to factors controlled by state governments, including: taxes; human resources; right-to-work legislation; energy costs; infrastructure spending; workers compensation legislation; jobs lost or gained; incentive programs; and state economic development departments.  Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal said the recognition means that efforts to bolster the state’s business-ready climate are working, and that this validates the efforts of the Wyoming Business Council and the support offered by the Wyoming Legislature.  Pollina concluded by saying that because Wyoming has been among the top 10 since 2004, that consistency confirms Wyoming is certainly the most pro-business place to be among the Western states.  www.polina.com

 2)      Telecommunications Crossroads

            The Cheyenne telecommunications infrastructure is truly second to none for a city of this size and rivals that of many much larger metro areas.  Cheyenne sits on the fiber-optic backbone of several national long-haul carriers with fiber running along the I-80 and I-25 corridors.  This intersection enabled Qwest to invest in a Metropolitan Optical Ethernet for the Cheyenne area, which provides a level of service similar to Los Angeles or New York City.  Additionally, the State of Wyoming has invested heavily to bring this level of service to every school in the state resulting in quick and inexpensive access to the fiber backbone virtually state-wide

 3)      Low Taxes, Low Cost of Living

            According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC), Wyoming’s tax system ranked third best in the nation in its recently published “Business Tax Index 2008: Best to Worst State Tax Systems for Entrepreneurship and Small Business.”  The ranking pulls together 16 different tax measures and combines those into one tax score.  Among the taxes included are: income, property, death/inheritance, unemployment, and various consumption-based taxes such as state gas and diesel levies.  www.sbecouncil.org

            In the “Keeping Jobs in America…” study, Pollina said Wyoming prides itself on being a right-to-work state with no individual income taxes, no inventory tax and generally low operating costs for business.  Pollina went on to say that with no individual income taxes and a first place ranking for Business Tax Index (tied with Nevada and South Dakota), the state has an overall attractive tax position.  The study attributes Wyoming’s high ranking to being a right-to-work state with no personal or corporate income taxes, thus having low operating costs for business.

State income tax:          none

Inventory tax:                none

State sales tax:              4%

Local Sales tax:            2%

Gasoline tax:                 $0.14/gallon

Property tax:                 71.00 mills on 9.5% of residential market value

 

            The average sales price for a home in Cheyenne is $175,000, with a mean tax bill of $1,183.27 for that home, making it an affordable mid-size city and lower than the U.S. median.  The overall low tax structure is a big attraction for Cheyenne.

 4)      Urban Renewal, Downtown Development

            With a city population of approximately 55,000 and county of 85,000, Cheyenne is the hub for Laramie County.   A 78-block redevelopment of the downtown area has been in progress since the mid-90s, enhancing its robust retail trade.  Value is placed on building a sense of community.  

            The award-winning Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a quasi-governmental entity affiliated with the City of Cheyenne.  It is primarily funded through a special district tax assessment and tax increment financing.  These funds are directed toward planning, marketing and promotion, business development activities, capital improvements, and administrative costs to provide these services.

            The city’s zoning and planning committee’s development patterns play an important role in Cheyenne’s image.  City planners are dedicated to developing downtown Cheyenne in conjunction with the DDA.  Current projects in the planning phases include the Hynds Building restoration, completion of a Marriott Hotel, an elevated pedestrian crosswalk approved for linkages to the downtown parking structure, and the I-180 viaduct pedestrian fence approved for safety and to create a welcoming gateway into downtown.  www.cheyennecity.org

            Two recent completed projects demonstrate how Cheyenne’s public-private collaborations can be successful.  The Cheyenne Depot, formerly the Union Pacific Depot, has been beautifully restored and is now home to Cheyenne’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, DDA and LEADS on the second and third floors. The first floor houses a restaurant, visitor’s center and the Cheyenne Depot Museum.  The recently restored Plains Hotel has been a proud fixture in the heart of downtown for almost a century, first catering to Wyoming’s earliest captains of industry in 1911.  It once again serves travelers in search of the experience of western high style.  The hotel sits on the historic Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway connecting New York City to San Francisco.          

 5)      A Thriving Economy Offers Jobs Galore

            As Wyoming’s capital city, Cheyenne is home to large contingents of state, federal and local government, and a large private service sector based on the government economy.  Public and private partnerships thrive here to create an economy that is vibrant and robust.  This translates into many diverse jobs.  Cheyenne’s largest employer is F.E. Warren Air Force Base, with about 4,200 military and civilian employees.  Federal government has more than 3,000 non-military employees in Cheyenne, and state government has nearly as many.  Laramie County School District Number 1 and United Medical Center are also major employers.  Union Pacific Railroad remains the largest private employer with about 800 employees.  Other large employers include distribution centers, refineries, hotels, discount retail stores, banks, mail-order companies, light industrial, telecommunications, with smaller businesses making up a growing retail and service sector.  While appreciating the stability of its government-based economy, Cheyenne’s business community is actively working to diversify the economy and expand the economic base.  The recent addition of several high-profile national businesses and industries is being hailed as a positive step toward that goal.  The Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce can assist with job searching.

 6)      Family Friendly, Small-Town Feel

            The primary building block for Cheyenne is its people-oriented friendliness.  Although the state’s largest city, Cheyenne still maintains a small-town feel with a sense of community.  Cheyenne is a laid back city with a low crime rate and good infrastructure; a city where driving across town can take less than 15 minutes without navigation difficulties.  A variety of housing choices can be found in each Cheyenne neighborhood, regardless of incomes and ages.   New housing developments throughout the region range from those that reflect historic development found close to downtown, to more rural outlying areas.  As residents age, assisted living accommodations allow residents to stay in the area where they lived independently.  Pedestrian and bicycle-friendly access to parks, shops and school reduce the dependency on the auto for some local trips.   To further enhance the quality of life, a system of public and private parks, athletic sites and green spaces provide easy access to recreation in all parts of the region.  Beautification of the city is evident across town, from the Botanic Gardens to the Depot Plaza.  Preserved natural areas exist around the Cheyenne area, providing a connection to the wide-open spaces typical of the West.

 7)      Always Something Happening

            Cheyenne is not all cowboy hats and spurs.  A blend of the old and new West, Cheyenne has a cultural diversity and variety unlike most communities its size.  The city hosts many performing artists, including popular singers, dancers and touring productions.  It is home to the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, a professional symphony that is regarded as one of the best in the nation for a community of its size.  Other groups, such as the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players and a host of other talented artists, along with the Cheyenne Artists Guild, help provide the community with a variety of cultural activities throughout the year.  Tradition and innovation have culminated to provide a great place to live, work and do business.  Cheyenne has built a strong community with a steadfast pioneer spirit and a strong vision for the future.

 8)      Medical Care for All

            Cheyenne takes pride in its medical services.  The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is a non-profit, community centered hospital with a mission to care for every patient who passes through its doors.  Originally founded in 1867 to serve the needs of railroad and military workers, it now offers complete cardiac, neurological, orthopedic, cancer, trauma and general medical care.  Cheyenne Regional is a national leader for providing advanced healthcare service, and has been featured on the Discovery Channel and recognized by Money Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Best Hospitals” in the nation for heart valve replacement surgery.  The Medical Center continues to be a regional leader by providing it patients with compassionate, high-quality care, in a friendly atmosphere close to home.  www.crmcwy.org