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ARCHIVED  May 1, 1997

New developments propel resurgence on South Side

CHEYENNE – The 18,000 residents of Cheyenne’s South Side like to refer to themselves as Wyoming’s sixth-largest city, but until recently it has been a city without a doctor, a dentist or a variety of other retail businesses and professional services.

Now that is changing, slowly but residents hope surely, giving rise to hopes of a resurgence along South Cheyenne’s main street, the South Greeley Highway.

“The South Greeley Highway in my opinion can be the next Dell Range,” predicted George Zaharas, a South Side businessman and developer and one of the area’s greatest champions. “How long it will take I don’t know, but I think we will see it.”

Once the South Greeley Highway was Cheyenne’s main road to Greeley, Fort Collins and points south, lined with gas stations, restaurants and motels. But construction of Interstate 25 three decades ago spelled the death knell for many of the gateway businesses and brought a period of neglect and decay.

“It was just like every small town that got bypassed; the same thing happened,” Zaharas said.

But sparked by merchants such as Zaharas, the South Greeley Highway is making a comeback. These days, the first thing a visitor approaching from the south sees is Palomino Industries, a spray urethane and custom welding business in a painstakingly restored half-century-old supper club.

There is a thriving community bank, Frontier Bank, a new Dirty Duds laundromat, a gleaming new Cheyenne Meals-on-Wheels, and the area’s newest development, Tripoli Square, a Zaharas development that houses the first doctor’s office on the South Side in 35 years, the MedPed Primary Clinic.

The clinic is operated by Dr. William Harrison, a pediatrician and internist affiliated with MediHorizons, which operates the HealthReach on the North Side and the TriCounty Medical Center in Pine Bluffs. He chose the South Side because no medical office existed there.

Zaharas, a pharmacist, has owned and operated Town and Country Pharmacy adjacent to the South Greeley Safeway Store for 16 years and has felt the need for a physician as acutely as anyone.

“A year and a half ago, a group of physicians approached me for some help in negotiations for some land,” he recalled. Those negotiations stalled, but then “this piece of land just popped up,” and pharmacist Zaharas found himself wearing a developer’s hat. He bought the land in March 1996, started construction late in the summer and had the first unit completed in December. MedPed opened Jan. 2.

Tripoli Square is located at the intersection of South Greeley and Allison Street, a street destined to become a major east-west collector. Zaharas plans a 37,000-square-foot “L”-shaped strip mall encasing a restaurant, probably a pizza restaurant.

“The intent is to bring businesses out here that we didn’t have, like a doctor, a dentist, an optometrist, other health professionals, but also retail stores, like a beauty salon or a shoe store or a small variety store that would have sewing notions,” Zaharas said. “We’re talking to somebody about a dance studio.”

Another longtime South Side businessman, Maurice Brown, may not be quite as optimistic as Zaharas about the extent of development but nonetheless is confident there will be gradual economic growth on the South Side.

“I think you’re going to see some businesses come into this side of town,´ said Brown, who owns Town and Country Supermarket Liquors and whose family has been in business on the South Side since the 1940s. “It isn’t going to be anything like you’re seeing on the North Side, but you’re going to see some new businesses come in.”

Though reluctant to divulge plans, Brown intends to develop land he owns along the South Greeley Highway between his liquor store and Allison.

“There’s going to be something here shortly,” he said. “I’m working on something right now that looks pretty decent.”

Zaharas is excited about the prospects of another development, even a potential competitor, because he believes it will increase traffic and lead to yet more development.

“I can see the rest of the land around here escalating in value,” he said.

“These people are very loyal,” he said of South Side shoppers. “They’re not going to drive clear across town unless they have to. They’ll support neighborhood stores, and anybody that builds out here will do well.”

To Zaharas, it’s just a matter of persuading prospective merchants that there already is sufficient traffic in Wyoming’s sixth-largest city to justify opening businesses on the South Side.

“Hopefully, this will be the spark,” he said of his development. “Once we get one or two, others will follow.”

CHEYENNE – The 18,000 residents of Cheyenne’s South Side like to refer to themselves as Wyoming’s sixth-largest city, but until recently it has been a city without a doctor, a dentist or a variety of other retail businesses and professional services.

Now that is changing, slowly but residents hope surely, giving rise to hopes of a resurgence along South Cheyenne’s main street, the South Greeley Highway.

“The South Greeley Highway in my opinion can be the next Dell Range,” predicted George Zaharas, a South Side businessman and developer and one of the area’s greatest champions. “How long it will take I…

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