MASON CITY — The City Council last night approved alterations to two agreements related to the River City Renaissance project.
The council approved a second amendment to their agreement with G8 Development for the hotel portion of the project, as well as approved an amended and restated development agreement between the city and the Mason City Foundation for the Music Man Square portion of the project.
The amendments allow the Foundation to purchase the property to the south of Music Man Square, which they will in turn use to construct a ballroom and convention facility in a new addition. The museum would stay inside the Music Man Square property instead of being placed in a separate building across the street next to the hotel. It also allows the site of the hotel to be moved north closer to the mall.
The city’s Director of Development Services Steven Van Steenhuyse told councilman Paul Adams the city’s bond attorney reviewed the changes and had no issues. Adams asked, “What was our bond attorney’s opinion on using the bond money for purchasing private property?” Van Steenhuyse’s response was there’s no prohibition for that, as long as the amounts that are spent don’t exceed the amount authorized in the bond issue referendum and in the bonds that are sold, there’s no issue. When asked by Adams about the bond attorney’s opinion about the ballot language regarding the changes. Van Steenhuyse replied that the language was broad enough to cover those.
City Engineer Mark Rahm says the move of the hotel site north will be a major help to the city when relocating utilities. He says, “Utility wise, the repositioning of the hotel from the current position that it’s currently shown at, we can avoid a sanitary sewer that would be a major project to reroute. There still is some storm sewer that needs to be rerouted around the building itself, but it’s a much simpler and smaller project.”
Councilman John Lee says the Foundation purchasing the building to the south was originally suggested to the council and that it makes better sense. He says, “I don’t care where we build the hotel or the museum, as long as we meet the basic requirements of the 500-plus for the convention center. I’m pretty sure we had citizens talking about purchasing that building south of there and it made more sense to keep it on that side. I think this is a good move, and if the Foundation and G8 are good with it, and if it’s the legal requirements for our vote, I’m not sure why we’d be against this.”
The amended agreement between the city and G8 still requires a convention center agreement between the Foundation and the hotel operator to ensure they are working in concert with one another.