MASON CITY — Mason City mayor Bill Schickel says the community is ready to bounce back from the struggles of the pandemic in 2020, and he also announced a major award toward an upcoming city project.
Schickel gave his “State of the City” address during Tuesday night’s meeting of the City Council, which you can watch in the video box at the bottom of the page.
Schickel says all of Mason City has been impacted in one way or another by the coronavirus pandemic. “63 families in Cerro Gordo County have lost loved ones with whom they’ve been able to give their final goodbyes. People are out of work and some businesses have been devastated, but hang in there. Thank you for adjusting your sales, and rest assured, this community is here with you, standing with you, and Mason City is poised for the greatest and strongest comeback that we’ve ever seen.”
Schickel says Mason City has prospered because residents have been stepping forward and stepping up and finding brilliant solutions, and then taking ownership of those results. “Because of you, 2021 in River City promises to be a year of remarkably resounding resilience. Coming together on common goals last year during 2020 was one of the greatest gifts of COVID has given our community.”
Schickel says the City Council is focused on accomplishing their main goals for 2021. “Neighborhood improvement and continued blight enforcement, including redevelopment of the Southport Shopping Center; Highway 122 West turning lanes, better signage and lighting and beautification out on our west side of town; completion of the River City Renaissance including the hotel and pavilion; beginning construction of public improvements for the River Riverwalk and upgrading our trails to better utilize the Winnebago River.”
Schickel says the city received notification on Tuesday that they’ll be getting $150,000 from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs to put toward the Willow Creek Riverwalk project. “This is part of our Great Places Program. This money goes toward the Riverwalk. It’ll really jump start this project and promote and improve our downtown development efforts. It’ll expand the Sculptures on Parade and highlight our waterways right here in the real River City.”
Nine communities received a total of $1.25 million in grants to work on projects.
== The council without discussion last night also approved the final reading of an ordinance that places further restrictions on signs that include electronic message centers. The council back in the fall pulled out a section dealing with the electronic signs that was originally grouped with a number of so-called “housekeeping” amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance. The new amendment is less restrictive than what was previously submitted, but it still deals with brightness controls that automatically adjust the intensity of the light based on ambient light levels; prohibits full motion video or film; and no element of the display may flash more than one time per second. The ordinance passed on a four-to-two vote, with councilmen John Jaszewski and Joshua Masson voting no.
Video from last night’s meeting — State of City address starts at about the 7:55 mark