The City of Mason City retained RDG Planning & Design to prepare a comprehensive and unified vision of Downtown to guide a program of continued improvement and development. This plan was designed to help Downtown Mason City remain a thriving business and cultural district.

The Federal Plaza and Federal Avenue streetscape are the most immediate focus area of this plan. Federal Plaza is the Downtown's most important public space, and has the potential to be the space that creates an identity for the entire city. Federal Plaza is the setting for the historic Wright Park Inn building, as well as, provides the transition area between Central Park, the historic downtown and the Southbridge Mall retail area. RDG’s challenge was to develop a simple, colorful, cultural and functional streetscape that embraces the community’s vision for their city and captures the history and character of Mason City while being easily maintained through harsh northern Iowa winters within an accelerated time frame. The project consists of four mixed-use city blocks and a city plaza adjacent to the Frank Lloyd Wright Park Inn which is currently under renovation.

A strong public involvement process strategy was the cornerstone of this project. Design work sessions, broken into large and small group meetings and individual property and business owner’s discussions, allowed any members of the community with interest to be involved in and influence concept development and preliminary design. The integration of streestscape elements, improved stormwater management and enhanced vehicular and pedestrian safety, transform this area and provide the community improved space for programming events along the street and within the plaza.