Mason City Re-designated as an Iowa Great Place and Also Designated a Cultural & Entertainment District by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs designates communities as Iowa Great Places to support new and existing infrastructure that cultivates unique and authentic qualities of neighborhoods, communities and regions in Iowa. Similarly, the agency designates communities as Cultural and Entertainment Districts to recognize well-identified, walkable, mixed-use areas of a city or county where a high concentration of cultural facilities serves as an anchor. Overall, the state now recognizes 40 Iowa Great Places communities and 8 Cultural and Entertainment Districts.



Mason City has been re-designated as an Iowa Great Place for the Mason City - Willow Creek Downtown Corridor Development. Mason City is the health, business and retail center for the region and has a strong musical tradition and exceptional cultural and entertainment amenities. The designation concentrates on Willow Creek Corridor development in the area located along the southern boundary of downtown. Project development will focus on creating an inviting usable space incorporating the natural environment and complementing community and downtown assets and economic development. This is a unique, natural gateway connecting the downtown with other community amenities. Showcasing this corridor and integrating into the trail system will enhance the focus on the many amenities and unique qualities Mason City has to offer. The goal for the Willow Creek Corridor is to create an inviting usable space which incorporates the natural environment and complements community and downtown assets and economic development initiatives.


Cultural & Entertainment District

Mason City was named 1 of 3 newly designated Cultural and Entertainment Districts. The boundaries of the Downtown Mason City Cultural and Entertainment District include the Main Street Mason City program area and the Downtown Mason City Historic District both of which provide opportunities to experience a diverse array of art, culture and history, as well as entertainment and educational resources. Main Street Mason City is a partner in implementing and facilitating programs and events that promote the downtown.


Major anchors include Charles H MacNider Art Museum, Mason City Public Library, Music Man Square, Historic Park Inn Hotel, Mason City Community Theater, and Steben’s Children’s Theater. This area incorporates historic and architecturally significant properties and many of the cultural, entertainment and educational resources the downtown features. In addition, the neighborhood features a bed and breakfast, brew pubs, music and entertainment, art and music studios, media outlets, food and beverage, retail and specialty shops, professional offices, educational opportunities, recreational and leisure facilities and event venues.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its divisions – the State Historical Society of Iowa, including the State Historic Preservation Office; the Iowa Arts Council; and Produce Iowa, the state office of media production – empower Iowans to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department promotes creativity as a catalyst for innovation, empowers Iowans to preserve history, and shares the stories of Iowa to connect past, present and future generations.

City of Mason City comments can be directed to City Administrator Aaron Burnett at (641) 421-2701 or

For more information about the program or to receive the full release, please contact Jeff Morgan, 515-281-3858,


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