Dr. John Mullin of University of Massachusetts Amherst gave his assessment of the town and his suggestions for a five-year plan on Tuesday at town meeting.
He said the town is doing well financially (in the long run, at least) because of the town’s positive bond rating, frugal financial practices and stability fund.
Mullin did say that the town did have some problems that it would need to deal with the future.
He said that the biggest problem is that the Cabot Business Park is beginning to decay and become obsolete.
“You have no choice,” he said. “The Cabot Business Park is Mansfield’s crown jewel, but it’s in need of polishing.”
He said since the park was built in the 1970s, it was built with single-level buildings on the most part. He said the town’s low-density approach to business is hurting revenue, because higher density means more jobs in a smaller area.
He added that most modern business parks have buildings with three to five stories.
Mullins went on to say that though downtown Mansfield will never be the revenue generator the business park will be, it is still a very integral part of the down’s character and potential resident appeal.
“There is no great town in Massachusetts without a great downtown,” he said. “If you want it to reflect the values of the town, it needs some attention.”
Mullin said that the train station is one of the many places to look at for more development.
“Everywhere the T has a train station you have major development next to it except in Mansfield,” he said.
He said that working with CSX freight to get more freight trains through the town would help.
Mullin said that working for more grants for the town is also something to work on for more revenue, which the town is in need.