I moved back to Iowa in January of last year. Having grown up on Oskaloosa (south-central Iowa), I often would travel north to visit relatives in Mason City. Being a pastor, I have lived in Visalia, California; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and now Mason City! It is good to be back in Iowa — I tell people it’s “God’s country.” (Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa!)

So, what’s it like being back? Over the past year and a half, my wife and I have explored Mason City. As we set our roots deeper in the community, this has been our observation; we have been impressed. Mason City offers architecture, music, art, theater, etc., - you know your assets. They are world class. Another kindly observation — we need to accentuate our positives.

My wife and I love to do the “tourists walk,” and it is exactly where we take family and friends visiting us in Mason City. While a walk downtown is an opportunity to experience all we have to offer, it is also an opportunity to see the need for proactive improvements.

This is why I was excited to hear about the River City Renaissance Project and see Mason City continue to take steps toward positive change. This project will enhance the downtown area with the addition of a performing arts pavilion, a multi-purpose arena, new museum, and a downtown hotel/convention center – what a golden opportunity to continue the momentum! Mason City should be proud of what it has to offer, past and present, and enthusiastic to accentuate the positives for the future.

As a new resident, I will be proud to be part of the process on Nov. 7 to vote yes!

Rev. Phillip Boender, Mason City

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