Doug Randall, Townsquare Media
Doug Randall, Townsquare Media

The Executive Director of the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority says that organization and Cheyenne LEADS continue to look at possible solutions to filling the vacant property in downtown Cheyenne commonly known as "the hole."

Amber Ash, on the ''Weekend in Wyoming" program on KGAB, AM 650 on Saturday said that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been discussion of putting a 7th-penny economic development tax proposal before the voters.

The money raised by the tax could have gone to help fund any of several possible projects, which could have possibly included the adjacent Hynds Building as well. But she says with the arrival of the coronavirus and the resulting impacts on the economy, any such tax proposal has been shelved for the time being.

So Ash says her organization continues to work with LEADS, which currently owns the property, to find a way to fill the vacant area. But she added that the situation '' is not something that there is an easy bandaid for.'' Ash says that just ''pushing a bunch of dirt and planting some grass'' in the area, for example, is not nearly so simple as it sounds.

She said considerations for any project would include such things as the stability of surrounding buildings as well as the impact on sidewalks in the area. ''It's not really as simple as people think, especially when you are working around historic structures," Ash said. She said damaging the surrounding structures is a big concern in the area.

She went on to say ''Now we're trying to work the project from different angles..... for example, are there any funding opportunities out there, where we might be able to get some funding assistance?" She says anything involving the hole and the Hynds building next door would likely be about a $30 million project.

Ash says that while the two properties conceivably could house different projects, the Hynds will probably need things like an elevator corridor that would require at least an easement involving the hole property.

''The hole" was once home to a bakery that burned down in 2004 in what authorities said was a case of arson. No one was ever convicted in connection with the fire, and the property has sat vacant ever since. It is widely considered an eyesore although a large decorative fence in front of the property has made it somewhat less visible than it once was.


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