MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City Tuesday night approved setting a public hearing date to convey easements to the developer for the Hyatt Place hotel and conference center to be constructed in the eastern part of the Southbridge Mall parking lot as part of the River City Renaissance project. The city has completed the majority of the work necessary for the closing on the hotel property, with the easements to be considered being necessary to allow the developer, MCCCH LLC, to receive benefit from property that is remaining in the possession of the city.
During the “Ask the Mayor” program on AM-1300 KGLO earlier today, Mayor Bill Schickel was asked about the progress on this portion of the River City Renaissance project. He says while setting a date for breaking ground on the hotel continues to be delayed, things are moving forward in a positive fashion. “Success is when preparation meets opportunity, and the city is prepared. We are working well with our developer. Yeah, it’s taken longer than what we would like, but we have confidence that it’s going to move forward. The thing of it is, you look at the successes in Mason City — the Park Inn, the Performing Arts Pavilion, more local ownership of the mall — all those things took time, and this will take some too, but it’s moving along well.”
Schickel admits he’s heard a lot of comments about the construction of the skywalk between Music Man Square and the site for the hotel, despite ground not being broken yet for the hotel project. He says while a lot of people have ridiculed the process, it was the right thing to do. “People like to joke about the ‘bridge to nowhere’, but really building that skywalk now is saving the taxpayers a lot of money. Lower construction costs right now. The other thing is, we’re preventing the problem of having two contractors in there at once. That would have caused quite a few logistic problems.”
The public hearing for the easement conveyance is scheduled for the council’s July 19th meeting.
You can hear more of Schickel’s comments from the “Ask the Mayor” program via the audio player below