Aerials Mason City Southbridge

Mason City Southbridge

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette

MASON CITY | North Iowans with a stake in the Mason City downtown hotel decision said Friday they are ready to move on.

John Barron, president of the Mason City Foundation, which oversees The Music Man Square, said he's not in a position to say too much about the council action other than he wants the Renaissance project to move forward.

"We want to look at the G8 development agreement and compare it dollar for dollar, square footage for square footage, basically apples for apples," Barron said.

"Obviously we don't want the thing to collapse. We want to move forward. But there's a transition. The council has acted, so that part of it has been resolved."

Robin Anderson, head of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, said, "North Iowa needs this project. Locating the hotel in the Southbridge parking lot and utilizing The Music Man Square as a conference facility is the right plan."

Concerning another aspect of the Renaissance plan, Anderson said the Principal Foundation has approved a grant application and has secured naming rights for the Performing Arts Pavilion. "We think the Principal Pavilion has a nice ring to it," she said.

Former City Administrator Brent Trout, now city manager of Topeka, Kansas, worked on the River City Renaissance project for almost three years before leaving for Topeka in October.

Trout said he had a City Council meeting of his own Thursday night but checked the Globe Gazette's website afterwards for the results of the hotel vote.

"I am very excited to see the River City Renaissance Project meet another important milestone," Trout said Friday. "I will be anxiously awaiting for the word on final approval of funding from the IEDA that will hopefully come in January of 2018. The project will have a huge impact on the community that is hard to fully contemplate.

"I look forward to coming back to Mason City in a couple of years to tour the new facilities, take in an event at the arena and spend a night in the new motel," he said. 

Loni Dirksen was chairwoman of the Mason City Says YES campaign that supported two ballot issues in November connected to the project. She said she knows many people favored Gatehouse.

She said Friday it's time for the community to work together to back the project.

"We need to bring ourselves back to the bigger picture of why we said yes to this project. We are on the same side," Dirksen said. "We all want to continue to promote positivity and growth but we need to unite to do it," she said.

Dirksen said the community needs to show unity to the Iowa Economic Development Authority. "We need to show that we are deserving, grateful and thankful for the many years they have spent working with us to get our project going and that we can work together to make it happen," she said.

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