Mason City celebrates $4.5M Destination Iowa Grant

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The Mason City community came together to celebrate receiving the Destination Iowa Grant on Monday.

The $4.5 million grant awarded to Mason City and Cerro Gordo County will help secure North Iowa’s reputation as a destination for outdoor recreation.

North Iowa is home to a vibrant cycling community, great bike trails and several large regional cycling events.

The primary project component includes new single-track trail areas that will add many miles of new riding to the existing mountain bike trails, a new large bike park and pump track, and a pedestrian bridge to create a seamless experience connecting trail sections along with Winnebago River.

“Outdoor recreation is becoming more and more significant this will really connect all of our trails right here along the Winnebago river. North to South East to West, it will also help us with our riverwalk,” Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel said.

Mason City already has an international reputation for the arts and music. This grant will jumpstart the city’s plans to make North Iowa a haven for outdoor recreation as well.

“It means a lot for our community the tourism that’s going to draw people from all over the place. It’s going to be great for the local businesses you know people will come here to see the museum, hopefully catch a concert while they are here. Enjoy our new kayak launch we’re going to have a bouldering wall,” Matt Curtis, a volunteer with North Iowa Human Powered Trails, said.

This collaborative grant between the city of Mason City, Cerro Gordo County and North Iowa Human Powered Trails continues this support by acting on the plans established over the last decade.

“The reality of it is a lot of these things couldn’t happen if we didn’t have funding assistance out there just the straight-up cost of doing trail improvements and trail development is pretty high and so without these grant sources and getting the community buy in this wouldn’t happen,” Josh Brandt, Executive Director of the Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board, said.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced a total of $14.1 million in grant funding that will go towards four projects through Destination Iowa. The money is 40 percent of the total project investment of $11.8 million.