Visit Mason City leader says convention space a high priority for community
MASON CITY — The person who oversees Mason City’s convention and tourism industry says the proposal to convert Music Man Square into a convention center and adjoin it to a hotel across the street is needed for the community. Visit Mason City executive director Lindsey James says the closing of a hotel on the city’s west side a few years ago has had a major impact on the city’s ability to host large meetings and conventions. She says since the closing of the Clarion Inn, the city does not have a full-service meeting and convention facility. “That’s something that we’re lacking. We definitely see a demand. Our recommendation has been capacity for 500 or more.” James says conventions and meetings bring in a lot of money to the city. She says the industry standard is that attendees for meeting and convention events spend an estimated $147 per day each day they are in a community for an event like that. “A two-day event with 500 or more attendees, that’s a significant impact. Having capacity to host multiple events such as that would generate an impact here.” James says tourism in Mason City is a $95-point-4 million industry.