Community Foundation approves the Mansfield Rising Plan (SXSW419)

December 12, 2018

The Richland County Foundation Board of Trustees approved a plan to invest in downtown Mansfield called Mansfield Rising during its December meeting.

The Foundation is spearheading the plan, previously known as SXSW419, based on its willingness to think about a civic investment strategy in a new and different way. The plan now will be presented to other organizations for adoption including Mansfield City Council, Richland County Commissioners, Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Richland Community Development Group, Downtown Mansfield Inc., Destination Mansfield, and Richland County Regional Planning.  It will be available to the public in February.

In 2017, the Foundation leadership took an unusual track to develop this investment strategy for Downtown Mansfield. Instead of a hiring a professional consulting firm, it had a citizen-led group create the plan.

With the assistance of Richland Area Chamber of Commerce President Jodie Perry and Idea Works President Jay Allred, Foundation leadership hand-selected a diverse and qualified group of 15 individuals to attend the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, TX. SXSW is a world-renowned thought and ideas festival that brings the sharpest minds in government, technology, business, and entertainment together in one place.

Immersed in a world of innovation and excellence, the SXSW419 team publicly documented their experience with blogs in partnership with local media. The core team experienced hundreds of in-person and digital conversations, presentations, and meetings. This information was crucial to develop the plan along with input and oversight from 28 advisors.

The Foundation engaged the Greater Ohio Policy Center to provide guidance for the plan. GOPC  develops and advances policies and practices that value urban cores and metropolitan regions as economic drivers and preserve Ohio’s open space and farmland.  Through advocacy, research, outreach, and education, GOPC strives to create a policy and political climate to allow communities to stabilize and thrive for statewide economic growth.

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