Make your voice heard

Posted Monday, Oct. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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At 5 p.m. Oct. 28, the city will hold a Bike Mobility workshop prior to the regularly scheduled City Council meeting. This is a public meeting. However no public input will be received during the meeting.

At 6 p.m. Oct. 29, the city will hold a public input meeting on bike mobility at City Hall. This meeting will be for the purpose of discussing public input and feedback about the bike mobility plan.

To keep Mansfield on a prosperous path forward, we must be competitive when it comes to attracting new and growing families to the city, and then keeping them here. Mansfield is not unlike other businesses. We must deliver services and sell our city brand to attract development to remain competitive. At the core of being competitive is attracting homebuyers, both individuals and families. All other development follows residential development. If we fall behind in maintaining a robust and appreciating residential base we will lose market share to other cities. A key component of being competitive is being progressive when it comes to offering great quality of life programs. Obviously good public safety, infrastructure (roads, sewer and water) and schools are the table stakes that all cities must offer to even be considered, and Mansfield offers a great product in these areas. But in order to differentiate, cities are moving to the next level of progressive amenities such as sports complexes, entertainment venues and multi-use park and trail systems. A key differentiator is pedestrian and bike mobility, and the increasing desire of the current and upcoming generation to pursue more physically active lifestyles. This includes running, biking and race events like the recent Methodist Mansfield 5k and half-marathon and the many race events run throughout our city. While these initiatives require an upfront investment in infrastructure and development, the return on this initial investment is in attracting, retaining and growing residents that see the value in these programs.

Mansfield is in the process of undertaking a bike mobility study to determine how we can best move forward with pedestrian/bike mobility programs that will set us apart and tie into the larger park and linear trial infrastructures that are currently being developed within the city. These trails and path systems will eventually allow interconnectivity between other cities like Arlington, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie and Kennedale. Many studies point out the benefits of bike friendly initiatives not only for physical fitness but also for the ability to experience these activities as a family and a community. In a matter of just a couple of months the new community park and linear trail expansion will open on Matlock Road. This will add a key connection point for the west and east side of the city that will allow families, bikers, runners and walkers to transit a trail system safely, and eventually all the way to Joe Pool Lake tying into the Lloyd Park recreational area.

Other studies identify these programs as key factors in attracting residents, business, and increased economic development. One need only look at metrics used for rating quality of life and the best places to live rankings (for example in Money Magazine ranking of Best Places to Live) to see that these types of programs are referenced as key components of these rankings. These programs help to build community, foster greater mobility and provide a safer venue for children, adults and families to interact on and off the road.

Our city leadership and park administration continue to pursue best in class options for trying to deliver more of these programs to Mansfield. But like everything else in city management, priorities must be placed on development. Thus programs like these, which are desired and valued by the people that live here, must be advocated for if we want these programs to flourish. For those that see these programs as a waste of money or city resources, I would only point to recognition that consistently rank cities that pursue these programs higher and higher. We in Mansfield leadership constantly hold our city on par with Southlake, Colleyville, Grapevine, Frisco and others. We cannot continue to say we want to follow the model of prosperity these cities are achieving, but then reject the programs and concepts that have put them on the map. Remember programs like these are investments in our city, which when done together with other quality of life programs will add value to the city and make Mansfield a city of choice for families wanting to live here and businesses wanting to locate here. This represents a win for everyone, because as the demand for Mansfield increases so will we see corresponding increases in our home values, in retail development responding to more people moving to Mansfield, and increases in sales tax revenue as more people choose to spend their money and time in Mansfield versus going to surrounding cities.

In order to advocate for programs like this, reach out to city leaders and elected city council members to make your voice heard about these or any other programs you think are important to Mansfield. Lastly, please attend the public workshop meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 at City Hall to make your voice heard.

I hope to hear from anyone that wishes to provide feedback about how we can continue to improve the quality of life here in Mansfield.

Stephen Lindsey

Mansfield City Council, Mayor Pro Tem


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