The Mason City Downtown Association officially become designated as a Main Street program in 2004. Since then Downtown has had an incredible influx of private investment in buildings, several downtown community projects, many new business startups or expansions, and an increase in available jobs.
While not all of the reported numbers can be directly tied to Main Street Mason City, our organization has helped build the atmosphere in Downtown that has promoted new jobs, new businesses, and continued private investment.
From 2004 to the end of 2015, our downtown has had a total of 68 new business startups, business relocations to the district, or business expansions. This has led to about 130 new full time equivalent jobs within the downtown area. What is truly exciting is that in 2015 alone, there were 5 business starts or relocations that accounted for 5 full time jobs. With more new businesses and projects on the horizon for downtown in 2016 and 2017, we could see these single year numbers double or even triple in the next 2 years.
Looking back on our past 11 years as a Main Street program, we are also excited to report a total of $25.2 million invested into building renovation or rehabilitation projects and an additional $6.8 million invested in the purchase of downtown buildings. 16% of the building acquisition investment took place this past year. This indicates a level of desire to be a part of our growing and promising downtown district. We are excited to see this trend continue as our district continues to flourish in the next 2 years.
Finally as a volunteer based organization, the Main Street Mason City program is able to report that since 2004, we have logged over 33,600 hours of volunteer time. Our volunteers sit on our board of directors, committees, event assistants, and program/office assistants. It is truly amazing to see the amount of time individuals in our community donate to local organizations. We hope to see this continue as Main Street continues to pursue our mission.
With major downtown projects on the horizon, including a new hotel and an ice arena, the future of the district looks bright. New businesses lead to new (and more) jobs in the district and a more vibrant downtown community. How successful do you see Downtown Mason City in the next 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?
(Downtown statistics reported in this post provided by Main Street Iowa, January 2016)