Commentary: Promises of downtown redevelopment are being kept
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Commentary: Promises of downtown redevelopment are being kept

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On Jan. 2, 2019, Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel, in his state of the city address promised the citizens of Mason City that 2019 would be “one of promise.”

He and the City Council promised a multipurpose arena, a River City Renaissance project and more. I remember because I read it in an article written by Jared McNett of the Globe Gazette over a cup of coffee at a local diner in town. That was one year ago this month.

Well, the proof is definitely in the pudding and what was promised in January 2019 by the leadership of our town was delivered to the Citizens of Mason City and it arrived this year in January 2020.

Faruk Jessa

Faruk Jessa

Despite a heavy snowfall on the evening of Jan. 3, 2020, folks came out to witness and be a part of a celebratory milestone! The opening of the Mason City Arena and with no less than a winning hockey game by the North Iowa Bulls. I met folks from across Cerro Gordo County and as far as Minnesota who came to watch the North Iowa Bulls play against the Breezy Point North Stars. The Bulls knocked the wind out of Breezy Point!

Not only was our new arena a place to watch a great game with snacks and beverages but it was a place where the town folks congregated and had an opportunity to meet and catch up with one another and also make new friends. It was a wholesome event at a new venue that provided the capacity for folks to enjoy a sense of community.

That day we became more of a community, a community held strong by the SPIRIT OF MASON CITY AND NORTHERN IOWA.

Without a quiver of a doubt, the vibrancy has been brought back to downtown Mason City. With several solid redevelopment projects planned for our downtown and the surrounding area, I see Mason City tilted heavily towards nothing but quality growth and sustainable prosperity. Our town and the economy that supports it has started taking bold steps to creating an experience for our residents while attracting new visitors. We have a ways to go and not without challenges but we have, as a community, started that process towards positive change.

Mason City is again a great place to live because we keep our word and we as a community deliver on our promises the best we can and you won’t find much of this in the big city. We are THE SPIRIT OF THE RIVER CITY, THE SPIRIT OF NORTHERN IOWA, THE SPIRIT OF MASON CITY. We are truly Iowa.

Faruk Jessa is a United States veteran and a resident of Mason City.

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