MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night approved two professional services contracts for the skywalk between the hotel and Music Man Square, as well as for the design of the Performing Arts Pavilion as part of the River City Renaissance project.

The council approved a contract with WHKS for engineering services regarding the skywalk design not to exceed $23,200. One resident questioned why the contract needed to be approved so quickly. City Administrator Aaron Burnett says the skywalk is one of the more critical things to figure out for the entire downtown project, making sure a letting on the skywalk construction can be done in a good time frame. “There is a lot of review that will happen with the DOT. We have to submit multiple times to the DOT to make the skywalk a reality. Additionally, it is a structural item, so we have to deal with two different buildings that are being tied into, and then anytime you involve a state bureaucratic entity, I think there’s always some challenges there.”

Burnett says there are some pluses with the new alignment between the hotel in the eastern part of the main Southbridge Mall parking lot and Music Man Square. “We’ll able to be slightly higher, so that gets rid of some issues, but there’s also on the flip side, there’s more complications with the way that you tie into the hotel. The hotel is right next to the highway, and so the pretty tight space in there, which is good for I think the flow of the conference center to have a compact footprint so that you can utilize all the amenities in that area, but it also creates its own challenges.”

The council unanimously approved the skywalk contract with WHKS as well as a contract estimated at $134,480 with Accord Architects to design the Performing Arts Pavilion on the north side of the Southbridge Mall property.

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