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Mason City mayor announces $10M downtown apartment project, groundbreaking in 60 to 90 days

MASON CITY | Mayor Bill Schickel announced on social media Monday morning that the city has found a potential downtown apartment developer in the latest iteration of the long-gestating River City Renaissance Project.

According to Schickel, the city's in plans with Talon, LLC of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to develop a $10 million, 113-unit complex.

The four-story building stretch along Mason City's downtown riverfront and be located on what Schickel referred to as the "lower overflow floor parking lot south of Southbridge Mall."

Schickel said the city decided to work with Talon because "They have experience in other communities (similar to Mason City) and a strong interest in our riverfront development."

Talon CEO Steve Boote said that he considers his company, which currently maintains a $100 million portfolio, to be a "workforce housing specialist."

"If you’re gonna build an apartment today (in Des Moines or Omaha) it will probably run in the neighborhood of $850-900 a month for rent," Boote said. "That’s just too high for rural America. You need to be lower."

To meet that goal, Boote said Talon's projecting that an efficiency apartment in the Mason City complex would run $540. A one-bedroom apartment with a patio would cost $745, a two-bedroom would be $890 and a three-bedroom would cost about $1000.

Boote said they're also looking to offer townhomes that run $1,300 for a two-bedroom and $1,400 for a three-bedroom.

As of now, Boote said Talon's looking to break ground in 60 to 90 days and the project would be on an 11-month construction schedule.

"We’re not big but we’re not small either," Boote said. "We’re really well positioned to work in a rural area. We love rural. That’s what we love."

According to City Administrator Aaron Burnett: The development will require an incentive of a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement and the "sale of underutilized city land." 

In the latest city council packet, which is available on the city's website in the "Agendas and Minutes" section, Burnett argued "development projects need to have some increased incentive to take on the task of developing downtown and blighted areas with tighter sites, existing structures and more difficulties."

In conjunction with the plans, the city is also looking to amend its previous parking agreement with Southbridge Mall which limited what the city could do with public parking lots near the mall.

Tentatively, the city council will set a public hearing for the proposal at 7 p.m. Tuesday during its meeting in the library's Mason City Room. 

Later Monday, Gatehouse Capital will hold an open house at 6:30 p.m. at Music Man Square to provide renderings, field questions and provide answers about the proposed hotel and conference center project at the complex.

Renderings for downtown 113-unit apartment project
Photos: River City Renaissance renderings

High School girls basketball: West Hancock falls in state title game

DES MOINES | The final buzzer sounded, and half of Wells Fargo Arena screamed out their lungs with joy, their team victorious, and the parents proud. The other half stood silently. The players stood together, wiping tears away, their efforts falling just short. Head coach Paul Sonius gathered his players as Newell-Fonda celebrated just feet away, and looked for the right words.

Photos: West Hancock falls to Newell-Fonda in state championship game

After a 25-2 season, the Eagles had come up short in the state championship game, losing to Newell-Fonda 76-52.

“I was proud of our team,” Sonius said. “They fought hard at the end. I’m going to get after them during the game, but they gave me everything they had at the end. They worked hard all year.”

Newell-Fonda got off to a fast start. A 3-pointer from Emma Stewart and a quick layup from Olivia Larsen gave the Mustangs a quick 9-2 lead in the first quarter. The Mustangs attacked with a fast-paced offense and swarming press defense, giving the Eagles fits throughout the first half. At halftime, the Mustangs had a 44-31 lead.

“They came out and got us right away in that first quarter,” Sonius said. “That basically made the game. We never had a chance after that first quarter of getting ourselves back into it.”

In the second half, the Eagles offense sputtered. The Mustangs went on a 6-0 run to open the third quarter, and West Hancock scored only six points in the frame. By the start of the fourth, West Hancock was down by 20 points.

“They came out ready to play, and we did not come out ready to play,” Rachel Leerar said. “That was the biggest difference in this game. We were not mentally prepared at all. I don’t know what we expected. I don’t know if we were nervous or scared, but we just didn’t come out the way we play.”

In the end, the Mustangs offense was just too much. Newell-Fonda outscored West Hancock 32-21 in the second half to win the championship. One of the most telling stats was in the turnover column. West Hancock finished with 26 turnovers, while Newell-Fonda had 20. The Mustangs scored 31 points off of turnovers.

Leerar finished the day with a team-high 22 points for the Eagles, on 8-of-14 shooting. Amanda Chizek finished with 14 rebounds and 14 points scored.

On the Mustangs’ side, a trio of players did the majority of the damage. Megan Morenz scored 19 points, while Olivia Larsen was close behind, with 17. Macy Sievers went 5-of-8 from the field for 13 points.

After the quick start for Newell-Fonda put the Eagles on their heels in the early part of the game, the Mustangs took control. For Sonius, the team’s contrasting on court demeanors made all the difference.

“They played not on edge,” Sonius said. “They came out and just played. They’ve been in this situation ... they just react and they just go. We’re still trying to work on that part. When we do get to that part, we’re going to be the next ones. We’re the next group of girls that people are going to be thinking about. We’re just on the cusp of where we want to be.”

After clinching a state berth for the first time since 2012, and then winning the first two games at the tournament, the Eagles sideline was all joy. But after a loss on the biggest stage, it seemed like all they could was think about what they could’ve done differently.

“It was the dream for the first two games,” Leerar said. “It was amazing getting to play in that third one. Once you get there, you don’t want to just be satisfied. I thought I’d be happy with just getting to state, and now I wanted to win it. It hurts a lot, not getting there.”

Photos: West Hancock falls to Newell-Fonda in state championship game

Photos: West Hancock falls to Newell-Fonda in state championship game

CHRIS ZOELLER The Globe Gazette 

West Hancock's Riley Hiscocks, Rachel Leerar and Madison Eisenman walk to the bench as they are taken out of the game in the closing minutes against Newell-Fonda Saturday during the Class 1A state championship game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

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Mason City woman accused of trying to break into Synagogue mailbox with scissors

MASON CITY - A Mason City woman was arrested for trying to break into a Mason City Synagogue mailbox Sunday afternoon.

Danyelle Allred Goss, 35, was charged with misdemeanor fifth degree criminal mischief and trespass after an incident at Adas Israel Synagogue, 620 North Adams Avenue.

At about 3:21 p.m Sunday, Goss allegedly tried to break into the mailbox at the Synagogue using a pair of scissors.

According to court documents, Goss admitted to Mason City Police that she was trying to break into the Synagogue and was not a member of the Synagogue.

“The defendant admitted to being homeless and was trying to break into the Synagogue for shelter,” police said in the criminal complaint. “The defendant was in possession of various tools that would assist her in making forced entry.”

The damage caused to the while trying to break in was less than $200, according to the criminal complaint.

Goss was arrested and booked in Cerro Gordo County Jail where she is held on a $465 bond.

No court date has been set.

Goss was arrested March 1, 2018, for misdemeanor disorderly conduct -- loud or raucous noise stemming from a March 1 incident at the Historic Park Inn, 15 W. State St.

Goss allegedly made “loud and raucous noise” in the hotel at about 4:33 a.m., according to Mason City police.  

Court documents said Goss was yelling and hitting doors, causing “unreasonable distress" to hotel guests.

She pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to two days in jail with credit for time served.