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Editor's note: Each month, City Administrator Aaron Burnett writes an update on city business for the mayor and city council. In order to invigorate engagement and involvement with local government, we'll reprint his report here.

Mayor and City Council Members,

The High Line Trail has hit a snag with the transfer of the property. The process that was used to abandon the railroad was not accepted by the Surface Transportation Board and a new filing will need to occur. This process is highly likely to be successful and get the line transferred, but will delay this section of the project by about six months. The work on the southern section is still continuing and the city should be able to start making improvements once the punch-list is completed by the Union Pacific.

Aaron Burnett

Burnett

Work on the multipurpose arena is progressing at a fast pace and the city and partner organizations are turning towards refining operations and staffing. Brian Pauly, Perry Buffington and I, in cooperation with Mason City Youth Hockey, have been working to establish a job description for a Multipurpose Arena Supervisor position that will be under the City Recreation Department and partially funded by an agreement with Mason City Youth Hockey. This position is currently being advertised and will be integral to ensuring the operation of the arena is efficient and the amenity is utilized as much as possible by the community. Additionally, city staff is working on operational details like how the structure will be keyed, internet access in the arena, what equipment will be needed in the concessions areas, and what other items will be required for normal operations of the space.

Regarding blight remediation, the city is continuing to pursue numerous properties and has received responses from many owners of blighted property. Many of these owners have committed to resolving the blight that was identified in the court filings and/or have committed to a judgment should the property not meet the requirements. Furthermore, the city is preparing to file against the next batch of blighted properties. While we are beginning to witness results from these efforts, a larger report will be presented to the council this winter after the program has progressed a little further.

Infrastructure work continues to progress throughout town on city projects like water, wastewater, stormwater and streets. These projects are making great improvements to the ability of the city to carry out these essential functions, but are also creating confusion. Additionally several IDOT and utility projects are occurring this summer. The IDOT Highway 122 project created another closure soon on Federal between Fifth and Sixth streets.  Traffic is detoured at 19th to Monroe and back on to Highway 122 and this closure will be in effect for approximately 6 weeks.

Lastly, I was fortunate to be present at an event honoring the quick actions of several members of the NIACC soccer team to save a drowning man’s life. We have individuals daily throughout the community acting in incredible ways to assist in the beautification and safety of our community through their efforts. I would like to commend NIACC for helping bring one such instance to the public’s attention and look forward to recognizing others making Mason City the wonderful place it is for all of us.

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Aaron Burnett is Mason City's city administrator.

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