On Thursday, the Richland County Foundation unveiled the final document which profiles the “Mansfield Rising” revitalization strategy.
The focus of that plan is easy to articulate — an intense focus on and effort to revitalize a multi-block area in the middle of Mansfield that has, in its day, served as the city’s retail, social, and political center.
How the Mansfield Rising plan was created is relatively well-known. A group of citizens traveled to the South By Southwest (SXSW) Conference in Austin last year to listen to thought leaders in a number of fields, with the hope that that experience could in turn trigger creativity which could be brought to bear for the sake of downtown revitalization planning. This was followed by other public and private opportunities to gather ideas, and the involvement of a wide variety of civic and business supporters.
The plan is focused on three goals, which are:
Mansfield is a Place for Business. This includes promoting downtown Mansfield as a business-friendly community; developing an aesthetic appeal for the downtown; and creating a sense of security and inclusion in the downtown.
Mansfield is a Place for Gathering. This involves creating an accessible and welcoming environment for current and potential residents and visitors; Engaging diverse groups across all socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities in downtown Mansfield; and fostering a bustling community by maximizing use of all available spaces.
Mansfield is a Place for Living. Action items in this group focus on Strengthening the housing market to sustain market rate living; creating mixed-use, mixed-income developments to ensure that downtown living remains open to all; and utilizing the creative community while developing downtown infrastructure projects to integrate the culture of downtown into permanent enhancements.
As far as we are aware, only one local media company was invited to be a part of that experience. That has not and does not keep any other site covering Mansfield and Richland County from joining in the conversation, however. On the contrary. While the SXSW group was in Austin, for instance, it was 1812Blockhouse that curated and shared social media posts that were generated from attendees. Then, when the returning team reported their findings one evening at the Renaissance Theatre, we were there to cover and report on what was shared.
With the plan’s release, we are again stepping up to the plate.
Like many in the community, we have had an advance copy of the Mansfield Rising plan for some time. When it was received, we committed to not sharing that information on our site until it was released publicly – a commitment which we have honored.
With the plan’s release, we are ready to go. Through March, 1812Blockhouse will be providing additional information and resources on the topic of Mansfield downtown revitalization in a handful of posts. We’ll take a look at downtown revitalization in other communities like Mansfield, and how what is being proposed here compares to successful efforts elsewhere. We’ll consider what additional tools might benefit the action plan items already identified.
Importantly, we will also look at the other downtowns in our coverage area. After all, folks in Shelby, Plymouth and elsewhere rely on their central cities as much as Mansfield does.
But that’s not all. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be introducing some exciting new parts of 1812Blockhouse specifically designed to assist in the Mansfield Rising effort.
Our first piece on Mansfield Rising will be published next week.
In the meantime, the Mansfield Rising plan in its entirely can be read by visiting this link and then clicking on “A Plan to Invest in Downtown Mansfield.”