The Wyoming Main Street program welcomed Cokeville to the Main Street family earlier this year.
The tiny town of Cokeville, population of about 500, sits nestled in the far-western Wyoming mountains and acts as home base to the Pine Creek Ski Resort about seven miles northeast of town.
The town was approved as an ‘aspiring’ Main Street community last February.
“At the ‘aspiring’ level, it’s really a volunteer-led, grassroots effort,” explained Desiree Brothe, the Community Development Coordinator for Wyoming Main Street. “There are several benchmarks they can hit on their way to becoming an ‘affiliate’ or ‘certified’ Main Street community.”
Cokeville’s Main Street champion has been Laura Pope, who has worked with the town mayor and a handful of other volunteers to stand up the program and complete several projects in its first few months.
“My first project was getting the public restrooms downtown up and running,” Pope said. “They are working now, and we’re in the middle of the next phase, which is giving them a refresh to make them look nice inside.”
Now, the town and county are working together to put in handicapped-accessible biking and walking paths around the schools to improve safety. The path would also stretch from Cokeville to the Pine Creek Ski Lodge and allow the ski hill to be used year-round, Pope said.
Also in the works are:
- A sheepherder’s museum – Cokeville was once the largest sheepherding community in the country
- A splash pad that converts into an ice rink in the winter
- Restoration of a historic opera house downtown into a multi-purpose community center
“The biggest reason we decided to join the Main Street program was for the training opportunities,” Pope said. “They’ll provide guidance on how to fund projects, facilitate meetings, create a sense of place and drive people and commerce downtown – all critical elements to the vitality of our small town.”
Cokeville now has a brand-new Main Street Director on staff, as of July 1. Shane Pope, who happens to be Laura Pope’s husband.
“With his background in building subdivisions, he understands everything from drainage issues to streetscaping and design,” Laura Pope said. “He will be a great driving force for our Main Street. I’m excited to see where this takes our little town of Cokeville.”