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Mason City Council

Mason City Councilman John Lee speaks during a council meeting on Nov. 27, 2018.

As the River City Renaissance Project has steadily unfolded over the course of 2019, there have been multiple addenda, changes and tweaks to the development and investment deal.

On Tuesday night, the Mason City Council will consider a few more modifications to the plan.

Mason City officials are looking to double the Tax Incremental Financing subsidy to cover more of the attached costs for the River City Renaissance. 

With the adoption of the amendment, an additional $8 million of the project's costs would be financed through TIF so that now the total amount that could be financed through the subsidy would be no more than $16.5 million. 

Council's also considering a correction for a late addition to the project.

Talon Development, which is looking to build a 133-unit apartment and town home complex in downtown Mason City, had a mistake in the agreement it was close to finalizing with the city.

The proposed amendment to the deal would adjust the closing date. According to the city council packet, not doing so could've interfered with providing Talon a clear title.

While construction has yet to begin on that project, construction has been underway for the arena. Workers recently came across a faulty pipe and irregular rock elevations.

That pipe wasn't labeled on existing historical documents, according to the council packet, which is why workers were unaware of it.

Once they realized that it was in defective condition, Aaron Burnett said they had to fix it immediately.

"Utilities are unavoidable," he said.

The change order for it totals about $127,000 and the change order for the rock elevation issue comes in at just above $160,000. Those rock elevation issues are being dealt with to allow for better constructability and efficiency. 

One other RCR-related item on the council's latest agenda is the city's lease agreement with Southbridge Mall for the Multi-Purpose Arena. 

In the original proposal, $4,174,000 over 20 years would be paid out to Southbridge Mall and owner Michael Kohan's real state group. In addition, utilities would be covered by the city. And there were no provision to make sure that Kohan and Southbridge were timely on their tax payments which have been an issue in the past. 

The amendment, which is being pulled for now to clean up specific language, makes clarifications to the proposed agreement (such as finding a hard date for rental payments to begin) and includes language related to the tax payment issue (an idea that emerged a from a January council meeting).

City Administrator Aaron Burnett said that officials from both sides wanted to make sure that there is a common understanding in place for what's expected and emphasized that the amendment doesn't explicitly change any of the language of the deal.

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