MASON CITY, Iowa - It's a project aimed to transform Dowtown Mason City. And today, the forward momentum is continuing for other parts of the project.
Nearly two months after completion, the multi-purpose arena now stands out on the west side of Southbridge Mall, and has been seeing great attendance for North Iowa Bulls games, roughly averaging 1,500 people per game. In center court, the new Climb 'n Crawl Park for kids is generating excitement, with obstacle equipment expected to take place next month. Across Willow Creek, construction of the 'River' townhome and apartment complex is accelerating, with a target completion time set for the end of this year.
"They've been working on weekends, and it appears to be coming along very quickly. All indications are there is going to be a lot of demand for that housing."
Mayor Bill Schickel is proud of the strides being made on the project aimed to address important issues, which can be found in communities across Iowa and the U.S.
"One of them is to repurpose old malls, the other is to attract workers and retain our current workers, and the other is to provide housing that helps attract both young people and old people to our community."
Soon, shovels will be in the ground for other projects: bids for the Performing Arts Pavilion are set to open soon, with construction to begin this spring; The Hyatt Place Hotel and Conference Center will break ground in Southbridge's south parking lot in July; and money has been budgeted to clear brush and improve trails as part of the River Walk portion of the project.
"The thing I'm thankful for is the people in Mason City and all the project partners that have worked so hard to bring this together. It really does improve our community and gives all of us a lot of pride in River City."