Editor's Note: This story is part of a month-long series that highlights 31 ideas included in the "Mansfield Rising" plan. The 67-page document was created by 15 local leaders after attending the South by Southwest Conference last March in Austin, Texas.
Idea 19: Construct parks for children and pets
MANSFIELD -- The 'Mansfield Rising' plan calls the construction of parks for children and pets a "high priority."
The plan expresses a desire for downtown Mansfield to be an inviting and entertaining space for all people, especially families, as they make up a large percentage of downtown visitors.
"Community development is best done on the strengths of a community's assets, and Downtown Mansfield has marked success in attracting young families with the Richland Carrousel Park, Little Buckeye Children's Museum and the Renaissance Theatre," the plan states.
In the organic nature of Asset-based Community Development, the downtown area has the potential to serve more people by enhancing the current infrastructure to make spaces more inviting to gather. The 'Mansfield Rising' team believes there is a particular need for gathering spaces, as well as additional programming for families in downtown.
Further, gathering in common spaces tends to aid in establishing an identity for cities and enhances a sense of community. Parks could also encourage safe movement and social interaction.
Well-designed parks are versatile enough to be used for multiple purposes. Various uses for these open spaces can include: a place to rest and relax, enjoy a meal, gather with friends and family or engage in physical activity.
The plan says parks should be adaptable, as well as convenient for multiple users to foster social interaction. With constantly changing demographics, planning for diverse and inclusive communities should be a priority.
The plan took inspiration from a newly developed Beacon Park in Detroit, Michigan and an inclusive playground in Portland, Oregon.
Playgrounds, the plan notes, offer a multitude of benefits. There is much synergy about programming for children with the cultivation of the Imagination District. So, identifying a site for a playground could heighten the experience for families.