The Wyoming Business Council made a number of approvals and recommendations Thursday on grant requests submitted by Albany county and the city of Laramie.

The board approved unanimously to recommend a grant for the redevelopments to the Empress Lot, for which Laramie had requested $3 million. The city requested the money to build a two-story building downtown, with retail spaces on the first floor and residential spaces on the second floor. Big Hollow Food Co-op had pre-leased the ground floor. The council said that the co-op is expected to create 12 new jobs and have a 12 percent growth rate, as well as a $600,000 capital investment during the next five years. They also said 1,700 people are invested in the co-op.

The board recommended partial funding for upgrades for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. They had asked for $499,857 and the board approved $488,857.  The funding was requested to finish the second phase of the Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters facility. The facility currently serves 315 children.

Julie Kozlowski, community development director for the Wyoming Business council, said that the board didn't recommend full funding because the funds available couldn't cover all the requests made.

"Funding for these considerations is limited and we had more requests than funding that was available. We asked Albany county if they could take a little less to complete the project, so that we could fund the Washakie and Ten Sleep project," Kozlowski said.

Washakie county requested $136,117 to expand the Ten Sleep Library to accommodate the Ten Sleep Youth Learning Center.  The project is expected to save the small community $9,900 annually. The board approved full funding as requested.

"There was a little negotiation happening," Kozlowski said.

The board also approved $3 million in funding for 200,00-square-foot building for HiViz Shooting Systems, a Laramie-based firearms accessories manufacturer. The board said that the company had already created 42 jobs and plans to create 20 more.

Final decisions will be made Jan. 19 by the State Loan and Investment Board in Cheyenne.


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