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Mar 25, 2010

Wyoming Business Council Doles Out Money at Casper Meeting

by Tim Monroe, Cowboy State Free Press Correspondent

CASPER–The Wyoming Business Council has approved a grant to the City of Cody for $2.9 million that will build a new headquarters building for a business called Eleutian Technologies, currently headquartered in Ten Sleep. Eleutian says the grant will create 40 new jobs in Cody. The company hires certified teachers who teach English to students in Korea and other countries through the internet.

The company says it has experienced significant growth and needed a larger headquarters facility. It pointed out to the WBC board there will still be what it called “significant employment” in Ten Sleep.

The towns of Mills, Evansville and Midwest near Casper received funds from the WBC for projects such as new sanitary sewer lines, renovation and expansion of a former maintenance building into a community center, a large grant to fund improvements to a main road at the Casper/Natrona County International Airport that will link the airport’s business park with the Casper Logistics Hub.

Evansville has also received WBC funding to create “business ready” lots in a business park. The grant to Midwest will fund a geothermal well feasibility study. The communitycould benefit from a constant supply of hot water that could be used for a variety of purposes.

The Council also approved grant applications that will help provide fiber optic links between Cheyenne’s proposed National Center for Atmospheric Research Supercomputer and the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

And, the Swan Ranch portion of Casper’s Granite Peak Development southwest of downtown Cheyenne received a recommendation for $3.0 million grant that will help build roads, install water lines and construct a regional septic system. The first new business will be Midwestern Pipeline Services that will establish a plant and add 38 new jobs, the council was told.

The WBC board also heard a presentation from the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance’s Robert Barnes, who pointed out that the Casper Area Small Business Innovation Center will utilize the old Amoco Oil Company’s former administrative headquarters. The building sits on the former Amoco refinery property and will be remodeled and a large extension added to accommodate clients in a business incubator.

The CAEDA report also discussed WBC supported projects such as the Casper Logistics Hub that features a transloading facility with an 8,500 foot rail spur from the BNSF main line. Among freight being unloaded are parts for wind turbines, including huge blades and other parts. The Hunting Energy Services project to build a new 60,000 square foot building will add 40-60 new jobs, according to Barnes. CAEDA provided technical assistance but no incentive funds.

Barnes said Casper College will have 4 major construction projects underway soon, including a 76,000 square foot Gateway Building, a music building, student union building and a new residence hall. The construction is funded by a bond issue approved by Natrona County voters.

The funding requests approved by WBC must now go to the State Lands Investment Board for final approval. The SLIB is composed of the 5 elected state officials. The board will meet April 8 in Cheyenne.