A $5.4 million grant for Laramie to build the Cirrus Sky Technology Park was approved on a 3-to-1 vote by the State Loan and Investment Board on Thursday in Cheyenne. It is the largest Community Readiness Grant in the history of the Wyoming Business Council.

Secretary of State Max Maxfield, State Auditor Cynthia Cloud and State Treasurer Mark Gordon voted for the full grant. Governor Matt Mead voted against the full grant, saying he is in favor of the project but would prefer a $4 million grant with a $1.4 million loan component. Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill was absent from the meeting.

Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan said that Laramie already has the maximum amount of debt to pay for infrastructure replacement, meaning the city would have to get special permission from Wyoming's Attorney General in order to take on any more debt. Laramie residents would also have had to approve the loan in an election, which would take place in May. Jordan and officials from the Laramie Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) said this could delay the project and force them to miss this construction season.

Secretary Maxfield made the motion to vote on the full grant and was seconded by Auditor Cloud. Treasurer Gordon then tried to amend the motion to be for a $4 million grant and a $1.4 million loan with the first five years interest only. Maxfield called for the vote and the motion carried, with Governor Mead offering the only dissenting vote.

The money will be used to purchase 149 acres of land on Laramie's North Ridge and make it shovel ready for technology-based businesses. Jordan said they city will immediately move forward with the zoning of the area and the purchase of the land so they can begin implementing infrastructure by July at the latest.

The LEDC will take on the marketing of the technology park to businesses who may be interested in locating there. The University of Wyoming has already committed to purchasing 23 acres.

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