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 23: Build a community center

Many of the activities downtown in Mansfield are targeted to adults or younger children, leaving teenagers without a sense of “place.”

There have been countless conversations about a community center. The Mansfield Area Y is a community center, but it is not centrally located. Many teens, particularly those between the ages of 13 and 18, have highlighted the lack of opportunity for them to engage in downtown.

A community center could provide an array of activities and services to teenagers and allow a safe space to gather. In an attempt to make downtown an inclusive space, the Mansfield Rising plan states it is important to create activities, attract businesses and offer programming that caters to older youth and young adults (ages 13 to 20).

Young people seek exciting activities and spaces. One idea for young adults who are too old to hang out on the playground is a gaming arcade. The Super Arcade in Los Angeles, California, is a great place for teens to frequent after school and on weekends. It features various games and activities designed by teens. The cost for an arcade is around $130,000, which includes the building and outfitting for the games and spaces.

Potential community partners include youth, organizations that work with youth, and entrepreneurs.

There is a ton of untapped potential in the teenagers that live here. The city of Mansfield should try to capitalize on the optimism of youth to make sure homegrown talent stays here.

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