The Mansfield Planning Charrette saw a turnout of more than 100 residents on Saturday to plan out the direction of the town over the next five years.
Residents prioritized what they think the town should focus on in the coming years from subjects like school improvements, economic development, business climate, infrastructure, town facilities and more during the meeting.
Mullin separated the attendees into groups and asked them to put together their priorities.
While economic development was the most often prioritized goal from each of the 12 groups, residents agreed that the steps after building a better economic growth model was key to a successful plan. Some residents did not feel that economic growth was tantamount, but the majority of the groups agreed as such.
Here’s what some of the residents at the meeting had to say about where they think the town should go.
“I think one word we went back to was revenue,” said table 11 representative John Hieratko. “Certainly it is clear that it is a definite issue in this town. The downtown area gained a lot of discussion at our table as well, and certainly all of that feeds into the schools. One comment that was made at our table is that all the wonderful things that have happened at our schools in the past were driven off of strong revenues. Those two certainly go hand in hand.”
“We talked infrastructure first because you have to have the infrastructure to support the businesses,” said the speaker from table eight Cherrl Collins. “If you don’t have the sewage working you can’t bring more businesses in… All of these things are important, like everyone is saying... It is all tangled up together.”
“Our number one was business climate and economic development, we really felt that the two of them went together,” said table one representative Tom Fuller. “There was a lot of debate at our table on whether schools or business; which one was number two, but schools came in at a strong second because we felt that in order to draw people to this town we needed good strong schools.”
Fuller added that housing was another concern in his group. They agreed with Dr. Mullin’s former report from the fall that said there were already too many children in Mansfield, and building more residential buildings would not help the situation.
“We can’t afford to be putting in a lot of apartments that are two bedroom apartments where people are going to put maybe two or three children in those apartments that would be taxing the school system,” he said.
“A lot of our talk was about Cabot [business park] and the downtown area,” said table 12 representative and Jordan Jackson Principal Teresa Murphy. “When we look at what we’re looking for in our town, we want a little bit of each. When we look at where we need to be in the next five years, we need to build the revenue and help the schools in that way.”