Making communities ‘business ready’ in Wyoming. Economic program defended

A year ago, state officials recommended a $300,000 grant to help Cheyenne build a "spray park."

The park, which will allow for frolicking in a man-made, boulder-strewn brook, is aimed at making the state capital more attractive to businesses and families.

Critics, however, view the spray park as the poster child for state economic development gone haywire.

"I’m not sure that’s a wise use of money," Rep. Roy Cohee, R-Casper, said. "Amenities like spray parks might be something a traveler to a major European capital would expect to see. … Personally, I think a better use of money might be in the industrial area out west of town."

Sen. Ken Decaria, D-Evanston, said towns needing basic infrastructure such as sewer systems and roads should not be forced to compete with cities desiring enhancements such as golf courses or water parks.

"I don’t think that sits very well with the average citizen," he said.

Star-Tribune capital bureau


Economic program defended

A state program that helps cities and counties attract new businesses has given out $44.75 million to 46 projects statewide since its creation in 2003.

But the Business Ready Communities program has come under some criticism by some over how it awards money.

A report by the Legislature’s Management Audit Committee contended the Wyoming Business Council, which reviews all requests for money under the program, was not properly prioritizing applications, not tying applications closely enough to job creation and not monitoring projects afterward.

Of the $44.75 million awarded, $994,805 went toward community enhancements, including a spray park in Cheyenne.

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