- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Cerro Gordo County supervisors have pledged $500,000 to help Mason City with a downtown redevelopment project.

The supervisors voted Tuesday to support the project, which could include an ice arena, hotel, performing arts pavilion and retailers. The arena and performing arts pavilion would be built in a space being vacated by retailer J.C. Penney in the Southbridge Mall.

The city is filing a pre-application for Iowa Reinvestment Act funds. If approved the state could pay up to 35 percent of the costs, which would be about $9 million. City officials will seek additional funding for the nearly $31 million development from the Iowa Economic Development Board.

Shane Cooney, the vice president of Mason City Youth Hockey, says the timing of the project could not be any better.

“The ice arena at the fairgrounds was built in 1983 with a 15-year life expectancy,” he said. “We’re using it 17 years after its life expectancy and it’s falling apart.”

Paul Harris, who is the president of the North Iowa Events Center board, said that the proposed ice arena, which can be transformed into a multipurpose center, would allow basketball tournaments and other events to be held in the city.

“Parents and kids will always want to play basketball and skate - and they might as well do it here,” he said.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1F8Odm6 ) that Supervisor Jay Urdahl noted Mason City’s proven record on its projects in recent years. He says that, “If past is prologue, this will be another success for Mason City.”

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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