Mason City council to consider grant for Music Man Square fundraising, loan for new sports bar

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City tonight will consider a financial request from the board that oversees Music Man Square as part of their fundraising efforts as well as a loan to help with a rehabilitation project that would result in a sports bar being placed in Southbridge Mall. 

=== In a letter addressed to the council, the Mason City Foundation’s board of directors says delays in the River City Renaissance project have added to the financial challenges they face and threaten Music Man Square’s long-term sustainability. The board says they are in the early stages of a fundraising campaign to bridge the time between now and the opening of the new hotel and conference center that’s part of the downtown project. The main source of philanthropic support for Music Man Square has been and continues to be the Meredith Willson Foundation in California, which the Mason City Foundation says has long expressed a desire to see financial support from the city and the community. The Mason City Foundation is asking the city for a $50,000 grant to help kick off their fundraising efforts to show the support of the community, with a matching grant being provided by the Meredith Willson Foundation. City Administrator Aaron Burnett in a memo to the council says the city has a projected reserve of about $180,000 in funds from hotel/motel tax proceeds and the council can allocate the funding as they see fit. Burnett adds that revenues into that fund continue to be strong and a grant would not impact any other commitments. 


=== The council will also consider a $30,000 Downtown Revitalization Loan to support the opening of a sports bar and grill in Southbridge Mall. The owners of Southbridge Mall have applied for the grant on behalf of The Sports Page to place the restaurant in the old Diamond Dave’s location at the south entrance of the mall, which has been empty since February 2001. Director of Development Services Steven Van Steenhuyse in a memo to city staff says the estimated total cost of the renovation is just under $114,500 and includes a complete renovation of the space, including a complete commercial kitchen, bar and lounge, restaurant setting, and virtual golf simulator. Funding from the Downtown Revitalization Loan program comes from tax increment financing revenues. 

The council meets at 7 o’clock tonight in the Mason City Room of the Public Library.