Updating the 2006 Mason City Comprehensive Plan

Academic Year 
2016-2017
College/Department 
School of Urban & Regional Planning
Project Partner 

Overview

As part of their capstone project, second-year graduate students from the University of Iowa’s School of Urban & Regional Planning will update Mason City’s 2006 Comprehensive Plan, with a thematic view towards environmental and social resiliency and a topical focus on aging in place.

In 2006, the City of Mason City embarked on a wide-ranging planning process that resulted in a high-quality comprehensive plan for Mason City. While the initial post-plan momentum led to some early implementation of the plan’s goals and objectives, the Great Flood of 2008 put the brakes on most implementation efforts while recovery and mitigation demanded the City’s attention. Because of these complications that arose from the Flood, as well as the time that has since elapsed, the 2006 Comprehensive Plan has gone into a mostly dormant stage.

Much of the 2006 Plan, however, remains useful. To be able to utilize the valuable parts of the existing Plan and fill the gaps of current challenges and visions that it does not yet address, it needs to be updated to reflect post-flood realities. City staff seek an update to the Plan that can better reflect Mason City’s current priorities and circumstances, and re-ignite citizen interest in long-term planning. To attain these goals, Mason City desires that the Comprehensive Plan be updated with an orientation towards resilience to both natural forces and the current and emerging market and demographic realities.

Towards the goal of updating the 2006 Comprehensive Plan for resiliency, City staff are interested in a topical focus on aging in place being incorporated into the Plan. Mason City’s Planners are well aware of the “silver tsunami” that will be a major demographic force as the Baby Boomer generation turns 65 and older, and recognizes that its population is aging. They feel that past planning efforts have not adequately addressed this coming reality, and seek for the comprehensive planning process to address the ways in which land use, housing, transit, and institutional development can serve an aging population through the entire life cycle.