The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board on Thursday approved a $5.5 million grant to create the Cirrus Sky Technology Park in Laramie.

The grant, one of the largest considered by the Wyoming Business Council, was approved by a 3-1 vote. Gov. Matt Mead was the only SLIB member to vote against the proposal, according to a Wyoming Business Council press release.

The Wyoming Business Council administers and recommends Business Ready Community grants, which are given final approval by SLIB.

Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said the governor supports the project but preferred a grant and loan combination, as some Business Council staff had suggested.

“He does support this kind of project,” MacKay said. “In fact, he’s so supportive of these projects that can enhance economic development in cities and counties around the state that he wanted to make sure that there was money to do similar projects elsewhere in the state.”

About $1.4 million of the grant will go toward the purchase of 149 acres north of Laramie, and the rest will help establish infrastructure, said Gaye Stockman, CEO of the Laramie Economic Development Corporation. The park will contain rights of way for roads and 10 acres of green space.

Stockman said the park will provide land ready for construction to technology-based research and development businesses. So far, the University of Wyoming is the only organization committed to purchasing land, but Stockman said many local businesses have also expressed interest.

With a Western Area Power Authority substation nearby, Stockman said the Cirrus Sky Technology Park will provide multiple power sources as well as fiber optic capabilities.

“There’s huge fiber optic capacity and redundancy, which is also equally desirable to technology-based businesses,” she said. “That’s why we picked that land to develop because it already has these resources that are huge.”

Stockman said the park will benefit the community by recruiting quality jobs for the area’s underemployed. Weather permitting, she said the Cirrus Sky Technology Park should be complete in October.

Five statewide officials serve on the SLIB, including Gov. Matt Mead, Secretary of State Max Maxfield, State Treasurer Mark Gordon, State Auditor Cynthia Cloud, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. Hill was absent for Thursday’s meeting.

Reach city reporter Kelly Byer at 307-266-0639 or Follow her on Twitter @KellyByer.

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