A proposed $1.7 million performing arts pavilion in downtown Mason City can move forward after a city council decision on Tuesday night.
At the meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution to award a contract for professional services to local firm Accord Architecture for the "Indoor/Outdoor Performing Arts Pavilion."
Under the plan, as currently outlined by the city, there would be a stage opening onto the Federal Plaza with a roof coming out from the north wall of Southbridge Mall. Decorative steel would be used to fit in with the city's Prairie School style.
The rationale for the project is that it will provide a large-enough outdoor venue to hold the Mason City Municipal Band and will have an indoor option for times of uncooperative weather.
Though not quite as big of an item as the downtown hotel being shepherded by Gatehouse Capital or the multipurpose arena, the performing arts pavilion is also a part of city's long-term River City Renaissance project which totals some $39 million. Nearly $10 million of that comes in the form of a maximum benefit amount from the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board.
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One concern for the plan, raised by local resident Max Weaver, was that the city was potentially hurrying into something before other crucial elements of the River City Renaissance had totally settled.
Mason City's First Ward Councilman John Lee attempted to allay that particular fear by arguing that the pavilion wasn't joined at the hips with the other happenings.
"We can move ahead on this even if everything else falls through," Lee said. "(It's) gonna be a great component to downtown."
He also added that various committees in town had been looking at doing something similar for about 10 years so the interest was there.
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