SHERIDAN — Joey’s Fly Fishing Foundation executive director Joey Puettmann met with Sheridan City Council Monday to discuss the potential for a new science center building and stream restoration on Goose Creek.
Joey’s is teaming up with Steady Stream Hydrology, Inc. to increase accessibility and the fish habitats along the stream, as well as bank stabilization and sediment transport. Along with those changes, Puettmann suggested using city of Sheridan and Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority land.
Steady Stream Hydrology provides comprehensive management of rivers, watersheds and riparian areas nationwide and is based in Sheridan, according to its website.
The space Joey’s is wanting to occupy — two parcels totaling 2.16 acres, one owned by the city and the other by SEEDA in the North Main Interchange area near North Park — includes limitations of stairs, work space and safety.
“The demographic that we’re missing out on is we have such a limitation of working with the handicapped…with Green House Living…also our VA’s,” Puettmann said.
Tina Krueger — a volunteer of Joey’s Foundation, Joey’s Fly Fishers International Club board member, former summer camp instructor, leader in the foundation’s all girls fly-fishing program and now principal and owner of Steady Stream Hydrology — said that a structure would help that access for those they currently cannot reach out to and will provide more safety for the programs.
“We want to scale up, we’re growing, and the science center on this property, if this could happen for us, could be a great outdoor education resource,” Krueger said. “It wouldn’t only be for the youth of Joey’s, you know, we want to be able to have it work for the community.”
Krueger said the property with the river and open space in the north gateway area provides a potentially good area for stream habitat work and classes that allow children to be outdoors.
The science facility would expand beyond Joey’s into city and statewide usage. Puettmann said he and his team have reached out to Buffalo and Gillette schools to potentially utilize the proposed science center.
“As of right now we have about 10 different smaller schools that are on the docket right now to get up here and stay here and take our classes and engulf them in what we’re all about; use these Bighorn Mountains and utilize that,” Puettmann said. “It’s not just about fishing at all. We have such a growth in regards with our custom rods that we also are developing. They’re built by kids, for kids, and it’s wonderful to see all the community sponsors that are coming in and purchasing those rods.”
Mayor Roger Miller reiterated that the discussion during Sheridan City Council’s work session Monday were only preliminary conversations about the project. He said foundation members intend to discuss the potential partnership and funding options with SEEDA, Sheridan College and other statewide entities. Councilor Patrick Henderson asked if this project would be a gift or if they were asking for a no-fee lease, to which Krueger and Puettmann said they are in the information-gathering phase. Councilor Thayer Shafer, a former science teacher for middle- and high-school aged students, said he believes it’s a great idea.
Puettmann said he hopes to have renderings of the science center building at their fall fly fundraiser in September.