Why Would Mason City Want the River City Renaissance Project?
Here's a better question: Why wouldn’t we, as citizens of Mason City, want the River City Renaissance Project? As a lifelong Mason City resident, I believe this could be one of the best forward-thinking ideas in recent years. Right now, Mason City is losing its attractiveness for outside investing. Too many manufacturing companies have closed, the Southbridge Mall is a sad reminder of what it once was - with more spaces for rent than stores that hold a lease, and the move to the west side of town has been the easy option for many retail shops and restaurants.
We have great things started with a beautiful preservation of central Mason City. The Music Man Square, Historic Park Inn, Stockman House, The Rock Glen Homes, Sculptures on Parade, etc. Why not add to it by giving visitors a place to stay in the heart of it all, while being entertained by a hockey game or concert? This is not just a benefit for tourists. A multi-purpose arena creates opportunity to attend larger/popular events locally, not to mention added attraction to current events.
This project is low risk to taxpayers. Property taxes will not be affected because of funding through the state, county, and private promised donors. The addition of a hotel and arena also adds jobs needed for the community. This would be an opportunity for 100-plus jobs, which in turn helps the local economy. Without the Renaissance Project, the city will be left with a large void in the form of Southbridge Mall and waiting on another plan that may never come around.
This is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for to move Mason City into the next 20 years. We, as a community, need to say yes!
Nick Whitehurst, Mason City