Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dale Steenbergen says historic buildings such as the Hynds Building need some public money to become viable homes for businesses in the city.

Steenbergen says that's because a business that wants office space, for example, could put up a new building and move in for ''half that much." He says that means "we've got to find ways to fill in the gaps" if the city wants historic downtown buildings occupied.

The Cheyenne City Council recently passed a resolution supporting the redevelopment of the Hynds, which was originally built in 1917 and has been vacant in downtown Cheyenne for almost three decades.

Developer Richard Hatch says he is willing to sink $14 million to $15 million into the building with the goal of renting it to a local law firm. A condition for the tenant signing the lease is on-site parking.

The Cheyenne City Council recently approved a resolution saying the city would be willing to spend up to $750,000 to develop "the hole" next door into a street-level parking lot for use by the tenants of the building.

"The hole," which is widely considered an eyesore in downtown Cheyenne, is a property which has been vacant ever since a 2003 fire destroyed a bake shop that had been located there.

If it is built, the parking lot would feature access from the alley that runs behind the block. A facade would shield the lot from being seen from the street. Some opponents of public funding for the parking lot says they don't like the idea of city money going to benefit a private business.

But Steenbergen and other supporters argue the money would be well spent if it ends the long vacancy of the Hynds Building and fixes the problem of "the hole."

Steenbergen says the basic argument comes down to whether or not public money should be spent to maintain historic buildings.


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