It’s an intriguing question with what might be a surprising answer – or answers. How does Mansfield compare to cities of comparable size, and larger, in the arena of early 21st century community development?
This summer, Greater Ohio, the state’s self-styled champion for policies and practices that value urban cores and metropolitan regions as economic drivers, while at the same time preserving Ohio’s open space and farmland, issued a 28 page report entitled, “From Akron to Zanesville: How Are Ohio’s Small and Mid-Sized Cities Faring?” In particular, the study looked at what are referred to as “legacy cities,” that is, cities with an industrial past, which have lost population over the last several decades, and is not a college town or near-metro suburb (this would include all Ohio metropolitan areas with the exception of Columbus).
Specific findings that include Mansfield involved the following:
These findings are buttressed by data featured in charts, and by a presentation of the methodology used to come to the above conclusions. Performance, for instance, was measured by changes in various factors including population, unemployment, labor force participation, median household income, per capital income, poverty rates, long-term housing vacancy rates, media housing values, new business starts, and changes in number of employees.
There were several options advanced to address the above, which included the following:
In the coming weeks, we will look at how Mansfield leaders are addressing, or not addressing, these challenges and opportunities.