Reed Avenue Rail Corridor
Reed Avenue has been and will continue to be an important corridor within the West Edge District of Downtown Cheyenne.
In the early twentieth century, the City of Cheyenne (City of Cheyenne, City, or Cheyenne) granted an easement to Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to build and operate a rail corridor within Reed Avenue’s 80-foot right-of-way. Rail service within Reed Avenue enabled many businesses to ship and receive goods via the railway. Properties adjoining the rail corridor became some of Cheyenne’s first and more successful industrial land uses.
Unfortunately, over time, many of the industrial properties in the Reed Avenue Corridor declined as industrial activity and its dependency on rail service declined in preference for the trucking industry and locations closer to the State and Federal Highway Systems. Today, the West Edge District, once one of Cheyenne’s leading industrial areas, is underperforming and in need of a new economic identity.
The City of Cheyenne has been studying Downtown Cheyenne, specifically its West Edge District’s decline, for several years and has framed solutions for its revitalization. The City’s Historic West Edge Reimagined (2014) established a ‘Visionary Blueprint’ for the District’s revitalization, calling for it to shift from an underperforming, primarily industrial segment of Downtown into a more vibrant mixed employment, commercial, and residential district. The subsequent West Edge Area Wide Plan (2016) established an action plan for achieving the District’s vision. It identified strategies for overcoming three key physical, psychological, and economic barriers to the district’s revitalization: the railroad, seasonal flooding, and a lack of economic drivers. The City of Cheyenne is addressing each barrier identified with separate initiatives.
This Reed Avenue Rail Corridor Master Plan, managed by the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), focuses on minimizing the revitalization barriers associated with the condition of the 80-foot right-of-way and is intent on positioning the Corridor for the return of economic prosperity. The City Engineer is addressing the barriers related to seasonal flooding through four stormwater improvement projects: Pump House Park; Civic Center Commons; and the 19th and 26th Streets drainage improvements. Finally, the City’s Planning Services Department is proposing to rezone large portions of the district from light industrial to mixed-use business to allow both light industrial and more diverse land uses to emerge and diminish the regulatory barriers associated with the lack of economic drivers.