MASON CITY — Mason City mayor Bill Schickel says everybody is invited later today for the groundbreaking ceremony for the multi-purpose arena that’s part of the River City Renaissance project in downtown Mason City.   “After five years of preparation, five years of work, the groundbreaking and construction kickoff for the River City Renaissance project takes place at noon today, and you’re invited to join in.”

The arena is being placed in the former JC Penney location in Southbridge Mall and it’s part of the $38 million Iowa Reinvestment Act project that also includes the addition of a convention center complex to Music Man Square, a hotel in the eastern part of the main parking lot of Southbridge Mall, as well as a performing arts pavilion on the mall’s north side.

Schickel says the construction of the arena will create a number of jobs. “This is going to create 200 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs, and it’s expected to add about $9 million in worker earnings in Mason City.”

Schickel says preliminary drawings by ICON Architectural Group of the proposed arena as well as of the hotel that’s part of the project will be presented to the public at today’s event.  “It incorporates the Prairie School look that we asked for in keeping with our heritage in Mason City.”

Dean Snyder Construction of Clear Lake has already started some work as part of the first phase of the arena project, which includes things like electrical and mechanical demolition, exterior wall and interior partition demolition, and earthwork and mass excavation.

Today’s groundbreaking event will start at noon, with people attending being asked to use the north entrance off of the corner of 1st and South Washington.

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