I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a young man who was speaking about the city he grew up in which happens to be similar in size to Mason City. I was astonished to hear some of the scary details about what has been happening to the historic business district. It seems that there were several factories in that city which were closed down about 10 years ago and then re-opened in Mexico. What remains are large turn-of-the-century buildings standing vacant and slowing crumbling away. The unemployment rate has spiked and many of the local businesses are struggling. There’s a strip mall not far away that have very few open stores.
What concerns me about this story is the fact that there are many cities the size of Mason City all across the country that appear to have it much harder that we do. I hope that the bulk of our elected officials as well as the residents of Mason City take note from these warning signs. The Streetscape of downtown Mason City appears to be a success. There are more business wanting to open up shop downtown and the Park Inn Hotel continues to draw visitors. There are always failures in progress, but we need not dwell on those failures but rather turn them into lessons for growing or community bigger and better. A true partnering in progress helps us all become winners. If the core business district flourishes, then that success multiplies throughout the Mason City and all of North Iowa.