Just in case you didn’t see it in the Mansfield News…

Allen S Bryer

Age: 50

Address: 187 Copeland Drive Mansfield

Years in Mansfield: 24

Education: In the past all the obvious just 30+ years ago. Currently pursuing multiple continuing education pursuits in professional studies. Non-degreed.

Occupation: Currently employed by FedEx Express as a courier and Team Lead

Civic/volunteer experience: Served on Mansfield Historical Commission, “Litter Buster” Copeland Dr & Central St triangle, helped when available BSA Troop 17.

 

Do you agree with the IDC’s idea that Mansfield should hire an economic development director and if so how would the position be funded?

I believe Mansfield needs to have a position that not only fields inquiries from prospective businesses but actively pursues contact with potential new business developments. This position should also be tasked with helping companies navigate a streamlined Zoning/Conservation/Planning etc. process. I think Mansfield needs to improve its reputation regards truly welcoming business.

Funding is unfortunately a scarce commodity and I have stated this position should initially be placed at the feet of our next Town Manager. With that in mind the number one search criteria should be proven ability in the field of economic development.

 

What would you like to see done with the North Main Street fire station once the public safety building in completed?

The realist in me believes the market and the towns financials are directing the town to sell the property. The town simply doesn’t have the funds to redevelop the site or tackle the costs of acquiring the adjacent lot that has been a blight since I’ve moved to Mansfield. These two are a pairing.

In a perfect world I would like to see the two properties be placed under the direction of a joint venture. A Public Private Partnership (PPP) that could develop the lot for parking and the station for redevelopment as a mixed use property that includes some type of flexible community center space. I oppose additional residential development on the site.

How do you feel the departure of Town Manager William Ross and the search for a replacement has been handled?

Regarding the departure of Mr. Ross I share the often cited angst that a cloud hangs over the whole situation. Transparency is sorely lacking and the resulting speculation is a negative the town simply doesn’t need or deserve.

I do believe the search committee is conducting a professional and commendable search and am hopeful the end result will be a strong one for Mansfield. The town manager search and resulting hiring definitely ranks high in marking the importance of this Special Election.

 

How do you feel selectmen have handled the traffic and parking complaints generated since the MBTA construction project started?

For the lot itself and the attempts to add alternative spaces I give the sitting Board a “B”. They put forth an admirable effort for a problem that the T truly dumped on us all. I also accept their position of being surprised over the Allen St incident which exasperated issues greatly.

I am less impressed with the pace of establishing the much needed plan of action for the surrounding area though. I’ve spent time speaking to the residents of the area as well as observing the dangerous situations they experience daily first hand. (Highland & Draper Aves ,Allen & Howe Streets)

Moving forward we need to look to stronger traffic enforcement and will need to remove, not just plow the snow in that area so as to maximize safe road widths for the residents especially when they’re pedestrians. Public safety is the number one duty of government and that holds true even when we face the economic importance of the train station.

 

Is there a need to create and preserve more open space in Mansfield?

I believe our green spaces need to be refined and truly plugged into the DNA of the town. Part of that entails understanding open space to include natural conservation space as well as active green spaces e.g. parks. That said I’d like to offer some specifics.

The new space at the former Fales site is great ;however, the remaining space needs to be converted into parking. I believe the most appropriate way to view green spaces along the WW2VM trail is to have them serve as “stations” along the route. The thought of a destination park including playground equipment and other elaborate features would be a foolish venture.

I would like to see more parking at the airport end of the trail and since we’ve undertaken a vegetation removal/replanting process now is the time. The area at the end of Cobb St should be developed into another “station”. Together this beautifies as well as connects place & people.

We should follow the lead of our resident “pathfinders” and formally construct a path into and around Hutchinson Field/Memorial Park from Pratt St across from Bicentennial Ct.

The town conservation areas and NRT holdings should obviously be preserved and celebrated.

 

What are some of the most important issues you feel Mansfield is facing?

Taxes, debt, traffic, the recreational Marijuana issue and the #1 issue our democracy. Plain and simple taxes are our much needed lifeblood yet it is getting ever more difficult to strike the balance that raises revenue and keeps Mansfield affordable.

We simply cannot go deeper into debt no matter what. A 30 year debt exclusion is an obscenity. I believe we’ve set the town up for serious financial issues even though the new buildings are needed badly. We needed bolder action then and we’ll need it moving forward.

One of Mansfield’s biggest enemies is our physical space and infrastructure. This pairing is holding us back from finding good solutions to our traffic issues, but let’s be honest too many of us are driving too fast and aggressively.

The town has mishandled 2016’s Ballot Question 4 in my opinion. Beacon Hill has placed additional (and totally foreseeable) obstacles in front of municipalities, Mansfield especially. We need to be proactive on this issue !

An awesome 13,000+ out of our 16,000+ registered voters turned out for the 2016 Presidential/State Ballot Question Elections. Less than 500 passed our $94M budget. This should be unacceptable to every citizen of Mansfield.

 

If you could accomplish one thing as selectman, what would it be?

If I achieved only one thing I’d like it to be getting a Charter Commission established. We need to bring Mansfield’s governance into the 21st Century. We need to amend measures such as the rules governing filling vacancies on the Board of Selectmen. This Special Election will cost the town ten thousand dollars and we do it all again in May 2018. In a town with annual elections we can come up with a better idea.

We need to be brave enough to explore options to improve our local election/ATM process and turnout as well.

If we don’t improve things the following will clearly apply to Mansfield. We won’t have the government we want but we’ll certainly have the one we deserve.