In 2003, Mason City Council approved Ordinance 2003 – 130 authorizing the purchase of approximately 50 acres of property from Eleanor Gould for future park development and stormwater management. At the time, it was the last parcel of open space in the center of Mason providing a prime location for active and passive recreational programming. In 2004, the City commissioned a Master Plan for the property which identified both active and passive programming for the site.
In October 2020, the Mason Arts Council presented a plan for the development of the Mason Regional Center for the Arts and requested Council’s support for the project. On December 14, 2020 Council approved Resolution 2020 – 18 supporting the efforts of the Mason Arts Council, led by President Tom Huff, to build the Mason Regional Center for the Arts. The organization’s vision identifies two phases of development for the Center. Phase I would include a performing arts center that would be completed first and Phase II focuses on visual arts and would complete the facility. The Mason Arts Council intends to raise funds for construction of the facility. The Mason Arts Council would operate the Center and rely on program fees for operating expenses.
The City identified two possible locations for the Center: the former Gould property located at the western end of W. Main Street; and Corwin Nixon Park, east of the baseball fields. In April 2021, Council approved Ordinance 2021 – 51, authorizing a contract with IBI Group to provide engineering services necessary for due diligence of these sites for the possible location of the Mason Regional Center for the Arts. The goal of this engineering work was to aid in the selection of a site by better identifying challenges and related development costs.
Earlier this year, the Mason Arts Council selected and Mason City Council acknowledged the Gould property as the preferred site for the development of the Mason Regional Center for the Arts. In February, a motion was passed by Council authorizing City staff to develop agreements to help pursue a partnership with the Mason Arts Council.
The City recognizes that the arts are an important component to the quality of life and the Regional Performing Arts Center can be aligned with the City’s mission for building a culture of wellness. A significant amount of consideration and work is needed to define this project and circumstances for locating it on the Gould Property.
This initiative is in early stages and the City doesn’t have and hasn’t committed to details related to structures, roadways, etc. To learn more about the Mason Arts Council and their vision for this project visit https://masonartscouncil.org/.