EDITOR'S NOTE: This the first in a two-part series responding to a reader-submitted question, through Open Source, a platform where readers can submit questions to the staff. Russell Potter of Mansfield asked, “What is the status of the Westinghouse property? Can the city market the property for new development?"
MANSFIELD – For nearly two decades Russell Potter has wondered what’s going on with the former Westinghouse property.
“It's been a question that I think I've asked numerous times in different circles, to different folks, who don't have the answers and that don't really know what was going on,” he said.
Potter, who moved from Akron to Mansfield about 17 years ago, has long been been reluctant to identify Mansfield as “home,” largely due to the lack of progress he sees along East Fourth Street and other places in the city.
“It's frustrating to see huge swaths of land being unused, just kind of frozen in time,” he said, mentioning the former Westinghouse property. “It’s just a concrete landscape that is not moving forward.”
To learn more, Potter submitted a question through Open Source, a platform that allows the public to ask questions directly to Richland Source. Potter asked, “What is the status of the Westinghouse property? Can the city market the property for new development?"
He also asked: Who owns the property? Are there EPA concerns? What’s the reason why we're not seeing any additional demolition? What is the actual timeline?
We've found some of those answers and we'll try to answer in this series. You can follow along at richlandsource.com/risingfromrust.
Potter has a few ideas in mind for the former Westinghouse property.
He can picture the property as office space for a national or international business’s regional headquarters. Or, he wondered if the property could be redeveloped with college graduates in mind.
After earning a degree in marketing, Potter struggled to find local job opportunities, leading him to change career paths. He is now employed by a Mansfield-based orchard and farm market.
“I love my job at Apple Hill, but I had a very frustrating three months of post-graduation job searching,” he said. “There is no path to employment in Richland County. Your job search has to go much wider.”
But if redevelopment isn’t an immediate option, he’d be happy to see a portion of the former Westinghouse property, which currently features a concrete field, returned to its natural state – a green grassy lot.
Though tired of waiting, Potter doesn’t want a “quick fix.” He believes 10 years is an appropriate timeline to see new development that is forward-thinking.
“I say 10 years, but someone's got to light a fire under somebody. It's been 10 years. It's been 15. It's been 10,” Potter said. “We can't afford to wait that long again.”
Read the answer here in Part II.
Ask your own question below.