MASON CITY — Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg met with members of Main Street Mason City late Thursday afternoon, talking about the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative as well as touring the downtown area to see recent accomplishments and future goals of the downtown area.
Reynolds says from the new businesses in Southbridge Mall, the new Multi-Purpose Arena, and the renovations downtown, it’s exciting to see what’s happening in Mason City. “Impressive, exciting, I love the passion. I love the redevelopment that you’re seeing to the mall and how they’re thinking outside of the box and being innovative about bringing people downtown. The ice arena is phenomenal, it’s just incredible to see the young kids out there, and really the opportunity to through the tournaments to bring a lot of families and communities to Mason City, and that gives you an opportunity to showcase the great things that are happening here.”
Reynolds says she talked with Main Street Mason City board members about ways to create more housing opportunities. “How we can continue to look for opportunities to incentivize upper housing development, to take a look at these old buildings that we have that have so much character and they’re structurally sound, and how can we make sure that we’re renovating and rehabilitating them, and finding ways that we can do that that makes it cost effective for business owners to go in there and use the existing facility.”
Reynolds says the state needs to take a closer look to make sure economic development programs are meeting their goals and expectations. “A lot of times it’s taking existing programs that we have like the Challenge Grant and maybe providing a little bit more flexibility. So are we too narrow in what we’re using those grants for, and is there an opportunity moving forward to change them up just a little bit and provide some more flexibility that can really meet the needs of people that are willing to invest.”
Reynolds made her comments to KGLO News shortly after talking to members of the Mohawk high school hockey team as they were holding practice at the Mason City Multi-Purpose Arena.