Remodeling bringing downtown Mason back to life

There’s a lot of historical buildings in the city of Mason, many which have been around for a long time. The city is encouraging businesses to remodel and look more presentable. As one of the older cities in the state of Michigan, Mason has done a nice job in keeping the city a place where people can go and hang out regularly. The downtown area is a major focal point that brings in a lot of traffic and the city tries to get businesses to take pride in their building. “What we’ve tried to do in the city, and this started 20-ish years ago, is encourage the building owners to take pride in the way their buildings look and to take some ownership on their part in creating the downtown square that we want to have,” said Mason Mayor Russ Whipple.

Mason lacks variety in restaurant choices, some say

There is one common complaint that residents typically have about small towns; there aren’t enough restaurants. Like most small towns, Mason seems to fit into that stereotype, according to residents. Some of the restaurants in Mason include Mason Depot Diner, City Limits, Los Tres Amigos, Darb’s Tavern and Eatery and The Vault Delicatessen.

Aside from the occasional fast food joint in Mason, most of the restaurants are small businesses and locally-owned. Despite Mason’s emphasis on locally-owned eats, some residents have a hard time finding variety, such as one resident of Mason for six years, Angela Izzo. “On a day-to-day basis I guess it doesn’t really affect me because we’re not trying to eat out every day, but when we do want to go out to eat, a lot of times it means we need to leave Mason to eat,” said Izzo.

Ingham County is looking to replace its aging jail

MASON — There is a long-overdue need for Ingham County to replace their deteriorating jail facility. The discussion is a standing item on the county commission agenda, as a plan is in the works to efficiently make the necessary moves to put it in motion. A significant part of the jail was built in 1964, making those areas 54 years old, and has never been closed once during that span. “We passed our MDOC (Michigan Department of Corrections) inspection last year without being cited, which according to the inspectors was a modern day miracle,” said county Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth. To put things in perspective, according to Wriggelsworth, the jail is the oldest large jail in Michigan, and is seventh-oldest overall, amongst the total 83 jails in the state.

Mason public elementary schools struggle with overcrowding

Mason public elementary schools are experiencing higher enrollment now than ever before. The high enrollment has led to overcrowding and lack of learning space in Mason’s elementary schools. The school district saw a five percent growth in resident K-12 student count from 2010-2015, according to MI School Data. This increase in enrollment might have to do with the steady population increase of Mason in the last few years. Ronald Drzewicki, the superintendent of Mason Public Schools for four years now, said that the new growth could be a result of a new community development on the west side of town, Columbia Lakes.

Mason war statues put history on display

As you drive through downtown Mason there’s a good chance you’ll notice the war statues that are located right outside city hall and how they only add to the historical city. The statues represent citizens of the Mason community that have served their time in past United States wars. The idea was thought of by the former post commander of the American Legion four to five years ago and took roughly a year to create, said current post commander of  Cavender Post 148 American Legion Leon Clark, who was on the Mason City Council at the time of the idea. Clark said, “I think the Legion did an excellent job with their choice. It offers inside history and is very educational …