The North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation is the product of a 2011 merger of the Mason City Economic Development Corporation and Clear Lake Economic Development Corporation. As the successor entity to the MCEDC and CLEDC, the organization traces its roots in Cerro Gordo County through a number of predecessor organizations, committees, and leaders.
The Mason City Development Association was formed following World War II and represented the area’s first coordinated approach to economic development, a trend toward proactive growth which was spreading rapidly in post-war America. The MCDA’s first major project was a 200-unit residential complex called Westview which still stands as an apartment building along Mason City’s Pierce Avenue.
The MCDA was also revered for its role in locating the Mason City Legionnaires, a professional baseball team, during that time. The Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, which traces its roots to the 1920’s, for many decades served as the community’s de facto economic development organization as well as its chamber. The chamber’s early economic development activities included maintaining the service of the Mason City-Clear Lake interurban railroad, which provided passenger train service between the communities. The chamber was also instrumental in promoting the growth of Clear Lake’s downtown, which remains today one of the state’s most visited and vibrant town entertainment, shopping and recreation centers.
The MCDA became an arm of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce in the 1970’s, eventually retitling itself the Mason City Economic Development Corporation, where it operated under the leadership of the chamber Executive Director and by committee until 1999, when Dan Culhane was hired as the county’s first full-time economic development director.
Similarly, in the mid-1970’s the Clear Lake Economic Development Corporation was formed and organized as a division of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, where it was led by the chamber Executive Director and by committee until the 2008 initial formation of the Corridor.
The MCEDC and CLEDC first formed a strategic relationship in 2002 by forming the North Central Iowa Growth Partnership, an economic development partnership whose impetus was the necessity for a joint-community effort in recruiting a major employer considering locating in the area. The NCIGP was ultimately instrumental in securing another major project, the $400 million, 500 megawatt Alliant Energy Emery Generating Station in rural Cerro Gordo County in 2004.
The MCEDC and CLEDC were also instrumental in the formation of the North Central Iowa Alliance, a multi-county marketing partnership which features participation from economic development groups in Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Mitchell, Winnebago and Worth Counties in addition to Cerro Cordo County. The NCIA remains an important force for regional economic development today, serving as a local, regional, state and federal resource pool which markets greater North Central Iowa to prospects throughout the country.
In 2008, the CLEDC and MCEDC revised their corporate statuses to become independent non-profit corporations separate from their respective chambers of commerce and retitled the NCIGP the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation, forming a joint committee to oversee what was considered and experiment toward a permanent multi-community economic development effort.
On January 01, 2011, following an arduous merger process, the North Iowa Corridor formally emerged as the successor organization to the CLEDC, MCEDC and NCIGP, as those organizations were retired, providing for the first time a single, united corporation responsible for economic development in Mason City, Clear Lake and Cerro Gordo County.