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Mansfield Selectmen Weigh Options for Downtown Improvement

Mansfield selectmen discuss options to improve foot traffic in the downtown area.

Mansfield selectmen discussed may possible improvements to downtown on Wednesday that would, in theory, increase business and value in the area.

“The downtown is a source of our identity and our pride, it’s something that has to be nurtured and taken care I feel that’ it’s now time that we do that, selectman Doug Aninno said. “We need to at least try to make it a part of a walkable community.”

Aninno said that, after a symposium he went to recently, that he has found many different small expenditure methods that could help the look and the feel of the downtown area in Mansfield.

“Keeping it clean, well plowed, enhancing street-scapes with window boxes, really encouraging downtown merchants to open their windows and their stores so they become one with the street and maybe in the future tax incentives to promote beautification,” he said.

Aninno added that through measures like these each building owner (and residential property owner) could increase their building value by $25,000 to $30,000.

“It helps everybody. that is well documented,” he said. “I think its time that we sort of really set an agenda that would start to try to find some money to create some of those amenities that our downtown needs.”

Chair of the Keep Mansfield Beautiful Committee Neil Rhein said that the KMB Committee has helped to make headway in the regard of beautification, with flower pots and artful trash cans, but added that involvement with the businesses in the area is essential, and recommended in the Strategic Planning Charete from Dr. John Mullin in the spring.

“One of the key things he had was the formation of a downtown advisory committee of some kind,” he said.

Rhein added that events like the Family Fun Night and the various parades in downtown Mansfield are great examples of how the town can come together and show pride in the unique aspects that make Mansfield what it is.

“If we can give them more reasons to come… maybe do a family fun night once a month or at least more than once a year,” he said.

Town manager William Ross said that while these ideas are great in theory, there’s a lot of legwork that has to be done before most of them can get off the ground.

“To quote an old Chinese proverb, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Neil Rhein October 25, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I commend Selectmen Annino for raising this topic of discussion. The downtown has been studied enough--it's time to get government, businesses, and residents working together to breathe more life into this valuable asset.

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