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Federal Avenue streetscape project behind schedule

Mason City’s Federal Avenue streetscape project is well behind schedule and may need to file an extension with Vision Iowa in order to stay in good standing. Estimated project completion has been moved back to the second week in August.|Mason City’s Federal Avenue streetscape project is well behind schedule and won’t be completed until mid-August, City Administrator Brent Trout says.

The project was originally supposed to be completed by June 30, 2011. That’s when a a contract with Vision Iowa says the project should be completed. Trout said in the memo “I will contact Vision Iowa and discuss the issue. I am not ready to file a request for extension at this point because it is unknown how far along we will be with the project by June 30, 2011.”

The streetscape has been a nightmare for many downtown businesses North of Southbridge Mall. A perpetual construction zone, with orange fences, potholes, gravel roads, closed intersections, and some construction materials laying around, as well as continuing work on the Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel, which never stopped, has caused several downtown businesses to close their doors and many others to lose significant revenue. (See related story from October 2010)

A petition has been signed and turned into City Hall by some downtown business owners, requesting a traffic plan to allow access to their businesses, as the project is worked on over the Spring and Summer. “We have deadlines to meet and need to strive to meet them but it cannot be at the expense of losing businesses that are located on Federal Avenue,” Trout said in the memo.

The city has acted to help the affected businesses before. Last Fall, (Nov. 17, 2010) the city went ahead and ok’d the installation of asphalt walkways along parts of Federal Avenue so that patrons could have better access to businesses over the Winter months while construction was stalled.

For more information, read Brent Trout’s memo to City Council and Mayor

See more photos in a downtown Mason City Facebook photo album|

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