MASON CITY, Iowa – A petition has been handed into Mason City Hall that will bring the leasing agreement between Mason City and the owners of Southbridge Mall to a vote.
It’s all part of the larger River City Renaissance project, which was called into question after G8 Development failed to begin construction on a hotel downtown earlier this year.
The proposal calls for the city to lease space for the new multipurpose ice arena from the mall owners for a 20-year period for $180,000 per year. The owners would be the ones building the multipurpose arena — but now a petition is putting a halt on those plans.
A petition with about 270 signatures has been turned into city officials. That means that now, the city will have to hold a special election to get the approval of Mason City voters.
In order for the project to move forward as planned, more than 60 percent of the vote must be in favor. City leaders say they plan on bringing it to vote but are going to focus on other parts of the project first.
“Rather than moving forward with the expenses, the time, the resources that are required to have an election, it would be better for us to spend our time trying to move forward and find our hotel developer. Once that’s secure, then we can move back to the issue of approving the lease for the developer,” City Administrator Brent Trout said.
The hotel is a key part of the project. Without it, the city will lose out on state funding to complete the other phases. Trout says city officials are still looking at development proposals for the hotel at this time.