I don’t think declaring North Main Street a Cultural District is a good idea…

An item up for discussion regards the downtown area is declaring it a “Cultural District”. I’m going on record here and now to say I don’t think that’s a good idea and here’s why:

I think you need to be very careful about how you throw around the “D” word. In this case I of course mean district. It is a powerful label in the planning renewal toolbox but it is one that can have unintended consequences.

  1. It can put off development as much as it can encourage it.
  2. It can easily fail the test of time.
  3. It can morph into a fiscal hole where liabilities easily outweigh benefits.
  4. It can easily come off as a bad joke in the very circles you thought you were making progress in.

Mansfield can and should look into harnessing the arts as well as the towns rich history to enhance the sense of “place” in the downtown area. Stretching the meager offerings however beyond what they truly are,paying $600. in mandated signage and calling it a “district” comes off as missing the mark imo.