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Mason City’s ice arena deal slammed by NIT reader

JC Penney.  Could this be the home of an ice arena?
JC Penney. Could this be the home of an ice arena?
NIT – Some very tough, intelligent questions asked by a Mason City citizen about the ice arena proposed for downtown. Please read and think about the implications of this deal:

The current City of Mason City Iowa Reinvestment District plan and application to the Iowa Economic Devel. Authority Board includes this Ice Arena project at a cost of $12,550,000 of which $10,550,000. is to be raised via four different public tax sources. Plus a PLEDGE campaign to seek $2M from the community. The City will front end this $2M via selling bonds the City will be required to pay off via the PAID pledges and covering any amount of the $2M that may not be achieved.

The plan includes the making of this $12,550,000 gift to U S Bank, N A owner of Southbridge Mall. The private owner will spend this sum to build THEIR ICE ARENA.

Then this City Council will Lease the Arena from the owner and no doubt become responsible to cover ALL of the private owned arena annual operating costs INCLUDING this new / additional property tax on the private owned ice arena. This $200,000 Tax Increment necessary to provide sufficient annual, for 20 years, money to retire the City’s Tax Increment bonded debt of $3,950,000. This $3,950,000 money becomes part of the $12,550,000. GIFT to U S Bank, N A.

The Iowa Reinvestment District law allows our State to fund so called Re-investment District Plans & projects that our State EDA Bd. favors. For Mason City’s five projects the most money, $4,900,000. of the tentative allocation of $7,100,000 form the $100M Iowa fund, is for Mason City to GIVE to the $12,550,000 funding of this GIFT DEAL to U S Bank, N A.

You ask, what is the contribution / investment from the current Southbridge Mall owner to achieve this Ice Arena they get for no cost to them?

Answer: Next to nothing.

Just like their history has been since Jan. 2013 when they acquired this sinking shopping center via a Sheriff sale. No investment to upgrade and improve it to date. No new Lessee. Seven Lessee departures since Jan. 2013.

For this sad story the State and Local tax sources plus some private paid pledges will be drained to gain access to a phony, “property will stay on the tax roll & no new taxes” political line. Plan is really to avoid a voter referendum for partial funding of the arena project for the same $3,950,000 that could be retired via the same revenue sources the Council will have to access to cover the property tax obligation in the Lease between the Lessor, U S Bank, N A and the Lessee, the City of Mason City. Of course the current dream being floated in the community is that the Owner / Bank is paying the property tax increase on this end run toward some $3,950,000 of bonding necessary to fill the DEAL–$12,550,000.

Read the Lease if it ever becomes public before the voting starts in Des Moines and Mason City Room (council).

Why is this current Arena DEAL stupid? Read above once more.

– 100% public funded project
– 100% of the annual operating costs DEAL / obligation of the City of Mason City (Lessee)
– Public ends up with a Lease, (maybe a little Thank you card for the $12,550,000 cash GIFT and a private ice arena we can use IF we keep paying per terms of the LEASE.)

Where was Donald Trump when this DEAL was hatched? Representing U S Bank, N A ???

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K ? There’s our first clue K? Snap out of it…MC is NOT a place everyone wants to go for a concert! MC is not a place really. Although home it can’t quite get there. All boils down to the mall closing our main street. There are no shops or cool anything down town. Iowa Falls blows it away even, let alone real places all over the country. I take it not many have traveled. Poor poor simpletons getting all excited over a ice arena with a band or 2. K?

Who wrote this garbage? Why don’t they man/woman up and put their name on it IF all the facts are true?

You wanna skate…Have the city water a spot in East Park! Worked great in the past. Hockey freaks can pick their nights and the rest for regular skaters. I wonder if the idiots think Disney on Ice will want to come? Sorry it won’t even be big enough for a skate chain! Dumb. Can’t Bookmeyers wife jump in and slap him some brains.

This is just another ripoff by Eric and company. The numbers do not even come close to justifying the cost of this boat anchor. Eric will be long gone and the city will still be in debt.

We have the same graft going on in worth county with the ethanol plant and now some hazardous chemical plant from INDIA is moving in on the same property owned by the railroad. TIF gifts have already amounted to well over 5 million local taxpayers dollars – what the hell – who’s getting rich over these sweet deals- surely not the average taxpayer – If you doubt this just look at you tax assessment bill -figure the Tif payment -mine is over 500 bucks a year for paying someone elses tax. Got to be some lobbyist under the table money involved. We reached 0ur $20,000,000.00 TIF limit now it has to be voted on before the supervisors can give our hard earned money to these free loaders. As for…

Who is the NIT reader asking these tough questions? Is it Matt Marquardt interviewing and quoting himself again? He’s not afraid to ask himself the tough questions! LOL at his “journalism”

There’s a place in the Wisconsin Dells that is so cool. Knuckleheads. It has a trampoline park, bowling alley, huge arcade, restaurant and a bar. Something for everyone of all ages. Too bad we couldn’t have something like that in Mason City.

Wishful thinking, but crookmeyer city is not much of a tourist trap.

This place wasn’t touristy. It was a nice family attraction that can be open all year around.


Ok EVERY human has gone to Penney’s in Mason City at least once. Older, young, kids, even your pet’s could go in. They didn’t MAKE IT, how would an ice arena be the next logical move? With only a percentage of people even interested. You are cutting out sooo many people. Shame. The ice lovers can’t possibly be THAT self centered. Ok they probably are but there has to be one person that will really think outside of this group and see it is atrocious at best.

There’s nothing wrong with having an ice arena in the mall. It’s not my cup of tea, but I don’t mind the concept and lotta people do like to skate or watch. But, it shouldn’t be funded with tax dollars. Let private funding prove it is in high demand.

If you would actually open your ears and close your mouth you might learn something. It won’t be just an ice arena for the hockey people. It will also be an EVENT center. Do you have a clue what that means? It means they can bring in worthwhile entertainment , singers dancers shows conventions etc.. Is that a problem for you? Too bad. Some citizens like to have other places besides that HOLE called elevens to go to on Sat. night. K?

This would be an EVENT center. NOT just a hockey rink. At approx. $40 (low end cost) a ticket for top name entertainment and 5000 attendees that’s $200,000 gross. Trust me people will travel a 100 mi. or more for top name entertainment. How many of you already go to concerts in Ames? Would you rather have to travel to Ames. Des Moines, Rochester or Minneapolis to see current billboard entertainment? Or have it come here to your backdoor? Oh that’s right you need that $40 for beer/drugs. Nevermind.

Only a small amount of people will EVER go to the ICE. To play or watch. Come on leaders don’t be so DUMB! Now’s your chance to make something fun and cool for everyone! You will still get your pretty penny some way. WAKE up!!!

And the pit, just gets deeper.

We already have a sheet of ice in this town and I don’t think it is over used.

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