Mason’s Main Street revival.
The Mason Mile is a one-mile stretch of downtown Mason, from Reading Road to Main Street. This project realizes our shared vision for a revitalized downtown - where local businesses can thrive and our community can gather together to dine, shop, and play.
The new and improved Mason Mile aims to deliver:
A variety of new businesses
Improved safety and walkability
A more cohesive downtown experience
As part of the Make the Mile effort, a Market Analysis is being conducted to forecast business and development potential in the Mason Mile. To help inform this effort, we would like your input on retail and housing preferences, shopping habits, and your overall vision for development in the Mason Mile. Consumer Preferences Survey were to be submitted by April 24, 2023. Responses remain anonymous and confidential.
This is a true community-driven project, with cooperation from the City of Mason, MADECDC, small business owners, and residents like you. With your help, the Mile will become a vibrant, lively space that embodies Mason’s most important values - community, accessibility, and city pride.
Let's get there together!
Sign up as an official Mile Maker to stay informed about the
project and help spread the word to your friends and neighbors.
Mason Mile Events
Mason Mile Community Open House & Public Workshop
Date: Wednesday, August 9
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Mason Intermediate School Cafeteria
PUBLIC WORKSHOP COMMUNITY INPUT & FEEDBACK
On Wednesday, August 9, the Mason Mile Project welcomed over 100 members of our community to a public workshop hosted by RGDE, Common Ground, and BLDG Brands.
Attendees participated in an almost hour-long presentation about all of the findings from the project work since engaging the consulting team last year. The second half of the workshop gave attendees the opportunity to view and provide feedback on six specific site development concepts, as well as placemaking concepts that aligned with those findings. The objective of the workshop was to introduce concepts that could be considered for future development opportunities to get additional feedback to ensure that neighborhood opinions and perspectives coupled with market findings are at the heart of the recommended next steps.
Those findings are available for viewing by the public, HERE.
All of the public input is now being used to help refine and finalize the concepts for inclusion in the conceptual framework and strategic report which will be finalized in October. Thank you to our community for your continued participation, and to the City of Mason for their support in making this work happen with us!
Check out the MADECDC Facebook page or join the Downtown Mason Mile Project group for the latest news on this project.
AUGUST 14, 2023
The August 2023 update for Mason City Council can be found HERE.
JULY 10, 2023
The July 2023 update for Mason City Council can be found HERE.
Existing conditions, market potentials, and branding and visual identity work is underway. A summary of findings through June 2023 can be found HERE.
MAY 8, 2023
The May 2023 update for Mason City Council can be found HERE.
APRIL 10, 2023
The April 2023 update for Mason City Council can be found HERE.
MARCH 23, 2023
BLDG presented two strategic branding concepts for the Mason Mile to the community Activators team. Concepts included visual inspiration and best practices, foundational design elements like logo, color and patterns, as well as early messaging exploration.
Design firm BLDG conducted independent research, reviewed community input, and assessed activation opportunities on the Mason Mile to develop a strategy for the brand.
FEBRUARY 13, 2023
The February 2023 update for Mason City Council can be found HERE.
JANUARY 9, 2023
The January 2023 update for Mason City Council can be found HERE.
Timing is right for this project because stakeholder interests are aligned. Property owners want a stronger real estate market, business owners see an opportunity for increased business with a vibrant downtown, city government wants a ﬂourishing downtown, and MADECDC is in a position to coordinate the project. Previous downtown projects have fallen short of expectations because of economic factors, lack of continual direction and leadership, and lack of a unified goal. These areas will all be prioritized in our ten plus year planning horizon.
Through an innovative partnership between the private and public sectors and led by MADECDC, the Downtown Mason Mile will be refreshed with an assortment of fresh, healthy, sustainable offerings resulting in:
A vibrant, sustainable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed use, cultural, civic and social heart of the MADE Region.
Clearly deﬁned boundaries of a downtown area that promotes the Mason and regional brand
Density sufficient to support downtown commerce
Increased property values and diverse housing offerings to stimulate downtown migration
Regional, local and specialty retail, dining and entertainment
Culture & arts hub
Long-term plan for maintenance and a coordinated infrastructure: utilities, transit, parking, streets, safety and cleanliness
New jobs, employment volume and variety to attract business and talent
Increased community connections, health and education
MADECDC is uniquely suited to the crucial role of representing, coordinating and communicating the
non-partisan interests of the general public across organizational and governmental boundaries. MADECDC’s primary strategy is community development and desires a region where residents, business owners, private and public property owners and institutions of every kind prosper.
MADECDC’s approach involves placemaking and partnership, maintaining respect for the region’s heritage and history while continuing to move forward. This project is seeking long-term change for the region with visible changes coming in the next ﬁve years. Since public participation and support is crucial, MADECDC will act as an interface for stakeholders and the general public.
Maintain a public webpage to show progress and engage the community;
Track opinions, proposals and progress and share with all parties;
Lead the planning, organizing and communication of programs and projects that support our priorities and ﬁt with our current focus;
Help the community identify, plan and coordinate goals, tasks, roles and the resources necessary to achieve them.
PROJECT FOCUS AREAS
To achieve a vibrant, sustainable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed use, cultural, civic and social heart of the MADE Region, MADECDC will focus on the following:
Historic building rehab/preservation
Parking plan & structures
Multi-story, mixed use retail/office
Community connections, healthy living programs and events
Built from the foundational goals established by the MADE Chamber Downtown Committee in 2018, we have evolved these goals to guide the tasks necessary to continue on momentum.
1. Collaboration: Foster a spirit of support to achieve maximum impact
2. Governing: Advance cross-organizational policies that foster support public and private investment
3. Branding: Implement a brand that supports and promotes business growth
4. Experiences: Partner on select impactful events that draw people to community gathering spaces
5. Wellness & Resiliency: Promote resilience, healthy living by educating residents
6. (Re)Development: Enhance downtown appearance, bolster lagging real estate market, create jobs, increase residency, promote commerce
Investments by private individuals and institutions
Loans or gifts from private individuals or organizations
Fee and/or proﬁt-generating activities and projects
Publicly owned assets including land and buildings
Public agency loans and grants
Tax incentives from government. MADECDC’s approach involves placemaking and partnership, maintaining respect for the region’s heritage and history while continuing to move forward. This project is seeking long-term change for the region with visible changes coming in the next ﬁve years. Since public participation and support is crucial, MADECDC will act as an interface for stakeholders and the general public.
Community input is crucial to the success of the Mason Mile. Take a look at some of these responses to our online and physical suggestion boxes, and feel free to add your own!
A major retail/entertainment sport. A destination that people seek out.
I would love to see old buildings renovated (with historical preservation in mind) and at the very least cleaned up and maintained. I think there needs to be a cohesiveness to the exterior design choices to make the downtown area feel as one. I would love to see additions of boutique shops, common green areas with space for outdoor theater or music shows.
I would love to be able to walk in and out of shops and restaurants in downtown Mason. Something family friendly. Something you could spend an afternoon or evening walking around and enjoying downtown. Bike racks.
Green belt areas with park benches and plantings and not just concrete and store and restaurant fronts.
I'd like to see downtown Mason have multiple places to shop and dine. There needs to be a reason to be downtown, to walk around and discover new shops and restaurants. The music in Mason summer events are a great start. Could there be events at the library? It would be great if there were small shops that are connected in downtown. More cafes and restaurants are very much needed with options. I need a reason to go downtown and stay down there.
I would love our Mason Mile to amplify who we already are but go deeper by doubling down on efforts to brand ourselves as a destination for families and residents who seek a safe, culturally diverse community to live, work and play - all in the heart of the midwest.
I'd love to see shops, art galleries, restaurants, and public spaces that feature global offerings.
Would also love it to be explicitly dog-friendly - with water stations, poop bags, and the ability to go inside some places.
Would like the Plaza to be reimagined as a public art space, and include splash pads, cool adult and kid swings, etc. This would be wonderful to connect more clearly with the Mason Library - making that entire area a family-friendly zone. Would love to have areas highlighting authors and art at certain months that celebrate diversity and reinforce that everyone is welcome here.
A visually appealing, historically-restored, beautiful downtown full of small businesses with more places to eat, drink and shop.
Enhanced bike trail/path. Breweries, ice cream, boutiques, a town square gathering space. Space for a park.
Beautiful, safe for walking (including across the street), easy to park in, easy to drive through, conducive to a range of destination-friendly businesses that will want to stay!
Easy and attractive place for my customers to visit, more places for them to eat and shop so they'll come often!
Walkable with more dining options and music and shopping.
More family activities. Community grass area or public park for kids to enjoy while downtown with their parents.
More public art, painted walls and alleyways.
More parking. More walkability, sidewalk improvements, lighting, and greenery.
RGDE PROGRESS UPDATES
Randall Gross/Development Economics is a strategic economic, real estate, and development consulting ﬁrm selected by the city of Mason and MADECDC to help bring the Mason Mile to life. More information about RGDE and their project portfolio can be found at www.randallgross.com.
THE MASON MILE CONCEPTUAL MASTER DEVELOPMENT PLAN PROJECT
The Conceptual Master Development Plan represents the focused, strategic planning phase of revitalization and development for the Mason Mile. This phase empowers the community to envision the future of the Mason Mile based on an intensive community engagement process coupled now with strong analytics.
The analytical component includes residential, office, and retail market analyses that help inform the effort and ensure that the process of revitalization is based in market realities and ﬁnancial viability.
SCOPE OF WORK & STATUS
Key elements of the work include the following. The status of completion of each task to date is noted.
Such technical analysis has not been completed before for the Mason Mile, making this effort an exciting departure and an opportunity to determine how best to realize supportable and realistic development potential.
The output from the market analysis will help generate market-based development concepts that will be tested with the community and will inform business recruitment, development, branding, marketing, and placemaking efforts for the Mason Mile by July of this year. The overall strategic planning process will also help inform the next phase of physical master planning.
PLANNING, DATA GATHERING & ANALYSIS
This work includes technical analysis such as the following, meant to help inform the community and its vision for the future of the Mason Mile:
Baseline Assessment of Mason’s economic context.
Site Analysis identifying factors like access, exposure, natural assets, and physical conditions impacting on the Mason Mile’s competitiveness for various types of development; and unique characteristics that help germinate Mason Mile’s brand and identity.
Planning Analysis reviewing the regulatory context and identifying hindrances to growth and development.
Market Analysis forecasting the Mason Mile’s potentials for development of different types of housing, retail businesses, restaurants, venues, and offices to house various economic activities; and high-level ﬁnancial testing of concepts.
Office Market Analysis
Residential Market Analysis
Retail Market Analysis - UNDERWAY
COMMUNITY FACILITATION & ENGAGEMENT
Parallel to the technical analyses is a community facilitation process to gather input from community members and stakeholders on the speciﬁc concepts for development of the Mason Mile and on branding, identity and place making for the area. While the community has worked tirelessly for many years to help develop its vision for the Mason Mile, this effort takes that vision one step further with a basis in economic potential.
Awareness Campaign to ensure that the community is fully aware of the planning process underway, including this web page detailing progress.
Topical focus groups to draw community input on speciﬁc issues and opportunities.
Presentations of technical ﬁndings from the market, planning, and other technical analyses for community feedback.
Direct stakeholder engagement, such as through the Activators, to assist with awareness, data collection and other inputs to the planning effort.
Concepts for marketing, business & developer recruitment, and physical development based on the ﬁndings of the market analysis.
Recommendations for planning, infrastructure, and regulatory changes that can inform the master planning phase.
Branding and identity development driven by community identiﬁcation of the Mason Mile’s unique characteristics
Place Making elements also driven by the community, along with the development concepts and assessment of physical conditions.