I started at First Citizens in 2003. I was just out of college … and I wasn’t really that familiar with Mason City. But I knew that there wasn’t a ton happening downtown. I discovered that we have this building here in Mason City that was crumbling and deteriorating, with no occupants. It was the Historic Park Inn Hotel … the only Frank Lloyd Wright–designed hotel left standing in the entire world.
In 2008, the community got together and decided they needed to redo it … The building was revamped and remodeled, and it [re]opened in 2011. It completely revitalized Mason City’s downtown, 100%. The impact to the downtown businesses is incredible when you compare the before and after.
The hotel is owned by a nonprofit organization called Wright on the Park … The fundraiser that we do each year raises funds toward preserving and protecting the building, because it’s over a century old. Any building that old that goes through all the hot and cold weather that we have in the Midwest is going to need some TLC … So it’s just one thing that we can do to help keep this beautiful building as nice as it is.
I love being able to give back to my community … [First Citizens employees] also are encouraged to do other things during the work day, which is really nice—maybe Meals on Wheels or volunteering at the community kitchen here in town. The fact that I can give back while working makes a huge difference to me … Having an employer be able to encourage that is wonderful.