MANSFIELD -- Are you invested in the future of Mansfield and Richland County? Have you been following updates from the #SXSW419 team? Are you curious about the "Mansfield Rising" plan?
The moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived.
The official "Mansfield Rising" plan, a comprehensive vision for the future of the city, has officially been released today. It's a 67-page document written by local citizens for local citizens that outlines an exciting, revitalized vision for our community.
The wheels of this plan first started to turn nearly a year ago, when the Richland County Foundation invested in 15 local citizens by sending them to the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. The goal was to come back with ideas on how to improve downtown Mansfield.
Over the past year, the original #SXSW419 team has been blogging and documenting their experiences on Richland Source. They've collected valuable insights from friends and neighbors through hundreds of in-person and digital conversations crucial to creating the finished plan.
Starting March 1, the Rising from Rust solutions journalism team at Richland Source is launching a month-long series, the "Ideas of March," that will unpack the official "Mansfield Rising" plan day by day. That means for each day of March, readers will be introduced to a new aspect of the plan aimed at revitalizing downtown Mansfield.
The vision is for downtown Mansfield is to become an optimal place to gather, live, and conduct business. Throughout the month of March, we'll explore how the "Mansfield Rising" team believes this can be accomplished through five key areas: effective land use, way-finding, technical assistance for businesses, branding and marketing, and safety.
This is a plan designed for an all-hands-on-deck approach; any organization, business, citizen or group is encouraged to get involved.
You can keep up with our "Ideas of March" series with a new, limited-edition email newsletter that will appear in your inbox shortly after we publish a new story every day. To sign up for the newsletter, follow this link and click the orange button.
You can also engage with the Rising from Rust team and the #SXSW419 team through Open Source. We encourage you to ask us questions about the "Mansfield Rising" plan as the series progresses.
At the end of March, our team will collect all your questions and present them to the "Mansfield Rising" team. Mark your calendars for April 4 - we'll gather together at Richland Source to answer all your questions in person. Be warned: space is limited, and preference will be given to question-askers, newsletter subscribers and Richland Source members.
As the final plan's introduction states, everything about the "Mansfield Rising" plan has been risky, even from the start:
"It's risky to take a chance on unproven people. It's risky to trust an unfamiliar process. It's risky to delay gratification and not see an immediate return."
But, this process will hopefully create better outcomes because it engaged people who are truly invested in this area. People who genuinely want to see this city succeed.
The "Mansfield Rising" plan is just the beginning. Now it's up to us to see what's possible.