Today's News Journal and some of the other current discussions going on about our vision of Mansfield's uncertain future have me wondering why historic preservation is so little discussed. I remember Mansfield in the 1970s, and the N. Main Street area in particular, and if that had been the trend and future of the downtown, I would not be living here today.
There has been a tremendous improvement downtown, focussed on preservation and restoration, but I'm not sure people actually understand it. Most of my generation who would remember Mansfield 40 years ago, quit going downtown and haven't been back. And many younger people perhaps think it has always been this way.
Just like our industrial parks and outlying shopping areas, there are empty buildings and signs of the economic downturn, and the downtown has certainly contracted, but the new reality has its own vitality and is building a new identity on the quality architecture of the past.
I would challenge anyone to promote this area's identity and livability by only featuring buildings we have built in the last 50 years. Given the value of the historic architecture in the mix of all of the accomplishments we're proud of, as in any city of any size, it is time we included a discussion of how to protect these assets in our consideration of Mansfield's future.