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Forest Park residents and others addressed City Council

Stake in the ground in a yard just north of Mercy loading docks on 1st Street SW. The stake indicates the north edge of the proposed new location of 1st Street SW. The street would run north of its current location and required the removal of several homes.

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – Forest Park residents and Mercy supporters addressed the Mason City Council at the September 4th, 2012 meeting as the Council considers whether to grant a Mercy request for a change of zone north of the main campus.

A change of zone will need to be approved by the City Council in order for Mercy’s energy center and loading dock expansion project to move forward.  A 5 vote threshold (at least 5-1 final vote) would need to be reached for the change of zone to pass the Council.  See preliminary plans here.

Mercy previously held a community question and answer session on June 28th at the hospital main campus in which the project was revealed in more detail.

Since then, some Forest Park residents have mobilized against the project.

At the Sept. 4th Council meeting, Forest Park residents commented on the loss of property value that the proposed project could have on their homes.  Some stated, echoed by Council member John Lee, that Mercy had for years reassured residents that they would “never go north.”

Councilman Scott Tornquist said that Mercy’s biggest mistake was making that promise, as the world is now a “different place.”

63 Linden Drive

Mercy, however, owns all the property involved in the expansion project area minus the city-owned road at 1st Street SW, which Mercy is asking the City to vacate.

Several Council members, including Jean Marinos and Tornquist indicated that the Council has no right to stop Mercy from doing as they wish with their own property.

Mercy’s plans for the project seem to be fluid and have taken on at least minor modifications in recent weeks.  In the latest plan revealed late in August, a historic home in Forest Park, located at 63 Linden Drive, would remain instead of being bulldozed or moved as originally planned.

Forest Park residents continue to circulate a petition in the hopes of swaying the Council to strike down the change of zone request from Mercy.

The next public hearing on this matter will be at the September 18th City Council meeting.

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