Mason City council approves annexation for New Energy Freedom development

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night approved an application for voluntary annexation of land on the city’s south side as part of a future economic development project.

Land currently owned by Nancy Wood west of and adjacent to the Golden Grain Energy property on 43rd Street Southwest, or 240th Street in the county, is in the process of being purchased by New Energy Freedom.

North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation CEO Chad Schreck says they’ve been working with New Energy Freedom for a while to bring the development to Mason City.  “New Energy Freedom is a company that we’ve been working with for several years as they’ve explored Mason City as really the priority, for them, location for their first project in North America. They also have an agreement with Dow for their product. I believe Dow will take about 50% of their production capacity for research and development on their renewable plastics side of things. The rest of it will be utilized as a renewable fuel, ethanol, product.”

Schreck says one of the main reasons for annexation is to use city utility services for the development.   “The main reason for annexation is to utilize city water and sewer of course. That’s a big priority, that’s one of the main reasons that they appreciated our community. We have excellent city services, and that was a priority for them.”

The council also approved annexing land to the south side of 240th Street. Schreck says while there are no immediate plans for the Newman Farm LLC property, they want to make sure that is ready for any future development.  “That site to the south also has some opportunities. We’re currently working on the site certification process for that site to the south, in addition to the east of that, so we can have a 300-plus acre development-ready site, so that’s part of the reason that’s being involved in this process as well.”

The properties would be rezoned to the city’s “Open Industry” category after the annexation is certified by the state. It’s the first annexation to the city since 2005, when the south area between the former city limits and the Avenue of the Saints was annexed.