As the River City Renaissance campaign has unfolded, it has been encouraging to see the enthusiastic work of young leaders throughout our community.

These are the young people who have chosen to stay in their hometown or who have come here to work. While often too busy raising families to become involved in every issue, they have become engaged with the River City Renaissance project because they see it as something that will provide exciting opportunities for them and their family for years to come. They understand that a remarkable opportunity is there for the taking, and they are working very hard to make sure we do not fail.

They are not alone. Many people of all ages at various meetings I’ve attended have shared their enthusiasm for the project. They understand that not one extra dollar of property tax money will be used as Mason City gets a new hotel and convention center, a new hockey rink/multipurpose center, new music pavilion and much more, including a repurposed Southbridge Mall.

Throughout this process, I have come to believe our city officials have built considerable safeguards into this proposal. Nothing is a sure bet, but the guaranteed rewards seem far greater than any perceived risk.

After my 50th Mason City High School class reunion, I emailed some classmates an informal survey, asking what they saw as the city’s weaknesses and strengths. Almost unanimously they saw the mall as the major weakness. We have the opportunity to address that weakness in breathtaking fashion.

The strengths my classmates saw? Most mentioned the friendly people, the same kind of people who are leading this River City Renaissance campaign. They are voting yes, I am voting yes, and I encourage you to vote yes, too. Let's set a great new course for our community.

Tom Thoma, Mason City

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