mansfield rising

EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog is written by one of 15 individuals attending the South By Southwest Conference in Austin with the intention to bring back ideas and to reimagine Richland County. The team has since developed the Mansfield Rising plan, which Richland Source will explain idea-by-idea beginning March 1.  

Over 19 months ago, I was asked to join a meeting with a small group of people, and in that meeting, they began throwing around big ideas, travel plans, people’s names, etc.

At the end they turned to me and asked if I'd write a grant proposal for this crazy idea to send 15 individuals to the South By Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas.

I had heard about this conference over the years. I knew some of my favorite bands have performed there. But never did I stop to think about sending community-focused individuals to Austin to see how others from around the world are tackling some of the very issues we face in Mansfield, Ohio.

But that's exactly what we did last March.

Nikki Lewis

It’s been almost one year since that amazing trip and so much has happened. We have met for hundreds of hours, researched and surveyed our community to find ways to implement our findings and soon, everyone will have an opportunity to read what we created, the 'Mansfield Rising' plan. 

As people read through this plan, I hope they notice how we tried to think of out of the box ideas that could create big change in downtown Mansfield's landscape. Then, we threw in some crucial smaller ideas that won’t require a lot of money, but they will still need people's support.

This plan ultimately comes down to you. I encourage you to take the time to read through the entire plan when it is released. Notice what stands out to you, what projects get you excited and identify where you could lend your expertise. Do you see an idea that you would be willing to be a financial supporter for?

This is the time that gets me the most excited about the entire project. This is when we get to truly include this community. So often I hear people speak negatively about the place I decided to call home. Now is everyone’s opportunity to take part in changing that negative narrative.

Let’s be part of the solution and make Mansfield better than it’s ever been. 

Richland Source will begin highlighting the ideas in the Mansfield Rising Plan daily on March 1. 

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South by Southwest Conference Blogger

Chamber Foundation Manager for the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce. Her focus is to educate in areas relating to economics, leadership and entrepreneurship. She is a transplant to the community and is excited to be part of helping Richland County grow.