MANSFIELD — What's next for Westinghouse?
It's the question on everyone's mind after the Richland County Land Bank approved a contract that could lead to the donation of the former industrial site to the public entity, opening up a world of possibilities with the property for the first time in three decades.
The Land Bank board voted Aug. 11 to approve an "environmental assessment agreement" with Pamela Coffman, trustee of the land owner, the Coffman Revocable Living Trust. The Land Bank will not officially accept the property without the completion of an environmental assessment.
If the Land Bank does eventually assume control of the Westinghouse property, Richland County Commissioner Tony Vero said the beauty is the future of the property falls to local control. As a member of the Land Bank, Vero has led the Westinghouse effort from the beginning.
“We as the Land Bank can listen to proposals, explore something similar to Ariel-Foundation Park, listen to developmental issues, or maybe a private investor decides to save the building,” Vero said.
“I don’t know the answer; ultimately it will involve developing that land in some capacity, and having the land be returned to some sort of use in this community, whatever it may be.”
So we asked our readers: What do you think should be done with the Westinghouse property in the future?
In the first week we received 53 responses, including a collection of creative ideas ranging from skating rinks to shelters to stadiums.
Read on for a round-up of your submissions. Some responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Hotel and event center - Julie
Would love to see Mansfield invest in a convention center or stadium and build a district around it. The city's size could support pro sports - Javar Parker
Build homeless shelter for people not working, and then find a job for them. - Mary Atkinson
I think we should look at other major cities (OKC with their different districts) that have revitalized their old commercial districts. - Zack Baker
I believe it should be restored and turned into a tourist attraction just like the Bissman Building or the Reformatory - Anonymous
The property owners should be compensated for the properties, and not asked to donate them to the city. - Anonymous
Shelter for homeless people or those in need of safe sheltering from abusive environments! - C. Hamm
Look at the property in San Antonio, Texas called The Pearl. I think restaurants, shops, a market, park, entertainment place would be ideal! - Sierra
I think it should be turned into nice industrial high-rise rentals. Renovation of the entire building for housing. - Daniele Morgan
Solicit the property for a new business/company build site. Rehab/make "new again" existing park spaces since there are so many in the area! - T. Jackson
Stabilize the building - fix roof & windows, etc. to weatherproof it. Rent portions as "event space" for modest income. Then rehab it. - Fred Rutter
A shelter for the homeless and needy. Or maybe even a home for abandoned animals? - Emily Raney
This should be turned into a Mansfield historical museum and house the history of Mansfield from the beginning to restoring it. - Regina Zehner
Something that would also attract tourists back to Mansfield and create jobs. I would personally like to see a casino if possible. - Sylvia Tucker
1. Roller skating rink, ice skating rink, bowling center; 2. Business park; 3. Civic center, all city/county offices - Anonymous
It's part of the history of Mansfield, It should be saved, maybe make it into a museum. - Woody Strohl
A branch of the Touby Run is right across the street (also historic to Mansfield), why not a community park with a recreation center. - Anonymous
Revitalize. Planned mixed use. Commercial, residential. Museum of local industry. Symbolize history and future strength. - George A. Hellinger
It's an iconic building(s). I'd love to see industrial loft style apartments, office space, grocery, restaurants, event space, hotel, etc. - Katie
Turn it into apartments for those with disabilities - Thomas Lennon
It would be a great location for condos, variety of restaurants, movie theater - a community people enjoy walking around in exploring shops. - Anonymous
Both Westinghouse buildings are eyesores, including the "Commerce Center." Tear them BOTH down, build an indoor music, skating, conference venue. - Anonymous
The building is still structurally sound, I would like to see it rehabbed or partially rehabbed, as part of a greater park area. - Jennifer K. Gray
Tear it all down. Create a convention center with an outside venue. Surround it with small shops and eateries/bars, with cover for weather - Stephen Gabor
I’d like to see sort of an open market, sort of like West Side Market in Cleveland! This is something all ages could enjoy and employ. - Dustin Griffith
Take it down and clean up the site. Totally unfinished, no remains should be left of it - Anonymous
I just recently went to Ariel Foundation Park in Mount Vernon and it was amazing!! Event center could bring in steady money to city. - Kayla Smith
A nice park or something for families - Anonymous
Turn part of it into a Mansfield industry museum and another part into drug alcohol rehab with apartments for the clients. - Deborah Wright
A legal urban exploration site. Explorers travel all over to find abandoned places to photograph and only a few are legal to enter. - Mark Soergel
Mixed use, retail, offices, restaurants and affordable housing. - Anonymous
An inpatient drug treatment facility or a homeless shelter. Like so many other communities, we have an epidemic in Mansfield. - Tammy Gear
Brewery/apartments like what was done down in Kings Mill, Ohio. Cartridge Brewery, look it up. - Zachary Motter
For years I have imagined an arena in this area. Where Mansfield would host concerts with big name artists and sports events. - Stefanie Smith
A recreation facility. Roller rink or year-round skating rink. Things for kids and families to have fun with. - Theresa Clingan
A great example of "historic preservation and adaptive re-use development," maybe not a fit for this but check out: www.thevillagetc.com - Anonymous
Event/conference venue, green space/park, apartments - Anonymous
This building has many possibilities; let's think about the community, the children are getting beat out of enjoying this city as we did - Cynthia
Make it a historical landmark and/or restore it for historical purposes, i.e. a museum or turn it into a park like Ariel Foundation Park. - Shayla Kenniston
Something that would bring tourists to the Mansfield area. - Anonymous
If possible, and if people can handle the noise, convert the site into housing. Otherwise, do something like the Idea Foundry in Columbus. - Edward Akinyemi
It depends structurally how sound it is, but keep the exterior walls, trash all windows and create a huge indoor sports center. - Rebecca McPherson
I think it’d be super cool to see it renovated into apartments or condos. Unfortunately I think it’s probably past that point. - Anna Maki
Shipping container village, shipping container start-up/incubator village, shipping container art district or a combination of all three. - Michael Tagg
Make the area park-like. Build a couple buildings that have retail on the bottom and condos on the top. Trader Joe’s and art and cafés - Susan K. Glorioso
Rehab for mixed use, office, retail and residential. Local government offices, senior apartments, farmers market, use tax credits, public/private - Steve McQuillin
It is a part of Mansfield's history and should be saved somehow; I grew up in Mansfield through the 50's and 60's and remember the big sign - William C. Kurtz
I am thrilled beyond belief to think that something might get done with this building site. Thanks to our commissioner, Tony Vero. - Bob Shambaugh