Mason City’s “Music Man Square” project will win a 675-thousand dollar grant from the state’s community attractions and tourism account. The project celebrates the life and work of Meredith Willson, who wrote classic Broadway musicals like “The Music Man” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Governor Tom Vilsack made the grant announcement this morning, saying the project will attract people from all over the country to celebrate the life and times of an important Iowan.A series of “Music Man”-era shops have been re-created along a Mason City street, and the next phase calls for construction of a performing arts center.Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel says the project celebrates Meredith Willson’s beliefs that by overcoming our differences, we can all work together to make a better river city and better Iowa.Vilsack says it’s one of his favorite community projects at a time when the state is facing a difficult budget time. Vilsack says the project is positive statement about the future and better times ahead.The grant will be approved tomorrow by the “Vision Iowa” board. The city of Mason City and Cerro Gordo County have committed money to the project, and Meredith Willson’s widow will provide a matching gift.
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