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Groundbreaking ceremony marks start of Plaza performance pavilion construction
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Groundbreaking ceremony marks start of Plaza performance pavilion construction


A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Federal Plaza Wednesday morning, officially kicking off construction of the Principal Pavilion at Southbridge Mall.

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A ceremonial "groundbreaking" was held at Mason City's South Federal Plaza on Wednesday, marking the official construction phase of the Principal Pavilion.

The venue will offer year-round usability, providing both outdoor and indoor stages. Henkel Construction has been tasked with the work of refacing and repurposing the north wing of Southbridge, with construction expected to take less than a year to complete.

Accord Architecture will design the building and has provided renderings which reveal a modernized Prairie School concept, which aligns closely with the aesthetic of a number homes and buildings sprinkled throughout Mason City. 

Principal Pavilion is the second installment of the River City Renaissance enhancement project, a companion to the Multipurpose Arena constructed at the mall's west corridor, which made its debut in late 2019.

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Mason City Administrator Aaron Burnett recently stated he reasonably believes construction on a third downtown Renaissance project, the long-promised hotel and adjacent convention center could begin early next year.

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Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel speaks at the Principal Pavilion groundbreaking ceremony at South Federal Plaza on Wednesday.

"Our forefathers would be proud – Meredith Willson... Frank Lloyd Wright would be proud," said Mayor Bill Schickel during the ceremony. "Because they had a dream that this city could be a shining example of the very best that America had to offer."

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Year in Review: Photographer and reporter Lisa Grouette's favorites of 2020

While I'm probably mostly known as a Globe Gazette staff photographer, this year, I got to wade a little more deeply into the waters of my other role in the newsroom: reporting. So, my "Favorites of 2020" list is mixed bag of assignments, both pre- and post-COVID world.

1. I submitted a column to my editor as the pandemic had begun taking its toll on my mental health. The support I received from friends, family, and strangers was a true blessing.

2. We got a news tip about a man who runs in certain directions to spell names out on GPS grids. You almost have to see it to understand, but it was a very interesting backstory.

3. I had some free time after an assignment and stopped by a lemonade stand to profile its management team... which, of course, was a group of determined kids trying to raise a little pocket change while on summer break.

4. Covering the social-justice movements set forth by our communities of color was both inspiring and eye-opening. It was really something to have been there to witness accords of change happening in real time.

5. When Mason City man Adam VanSyoc vanished after falling from a fishing boat, my heart sunk. I'd known his wife since school and we'd had an extensive overlapping social circle. I was invited to cover a candlelight vigil held in his honor, and although it was gut-wrenching, the stories shared were beautiful and moving. It's an event I'll not soon forget.

6. A gentleman came into our offices and wanted us to write a story about the individuals who saved his life when he had a heart attack. He didn't want to be in the article at all, but I convinced him we needed to hear his story, too.

7. Just before the pandemic took hold of our everyday lives, Jared McNett and I went to the Senior Activity Center in Mason City to cover a weekly dance they held. I go back and read Jared's story and look at the photos and video I took anytime I need a mood boost. It was divine.

8. Photos of kids being kids. Despite the COVID chaos that had engulfed nearly every minute of the day, it was just a normal summertime scene in Clear Lake, where Ashley Stewart and I were covering the new City Beach splash pad unveiling.

9. Nugget. She's a very good dog. She provides comfort and entertainment to the students at Mason City Alternative School, and is a very good girl. She's fuzzy and cute. She likes to nap, eat, do zoomies, and attend history class (for real).

10-19. For whatever reason, my editor let me run with my idea of making my own video series. It's all pretty mindless content, but I do have fun making them. Like, a lot of fun.

Lisa Grouette is a Photographer and Reporter for the Globe Gazette. You can reach her at 641-421-0525 or lisa.grouette@globegazette.comFollow Lisa on Twitter @LisaGrouette


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