Mansfield
Community Profile

Mansfield's draw is location, not rock stars

Mansfield at a glance
Incorporated: 1775
Size: 20.72 miles
Distance from Boston: 26 miles
Population: 21,650
Tax rate: Residential, $18.75; commercial, $19.76
Median house price: $314,900
Public schools: Two elementary, one middle, one high school
Form of government: Board of selectmen
Nearest hospital: Sturdy Memorial, Attleboro
 

Tax revenue, population grow with industrial park

By Teri Borseti, Globe Correspondent, 9/08/2001

MANSFIELD - Before the Great Woods concert facility (now the Tweeter Center) was built here, this was a relatively little-known Southeastern Massachusetts town. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

While big-name entertainers have put it on the map, Mansfield's great location is more responsible for its considerable growth than its easy commute to Boston or Providence.

Town Clerk Helen Christian said she moved here from West Roxbury when the population was still under 9,000. Today more than 21,000 people live in Mansfield.

Numerous debt-exclusion loans, made to accommodate growth, have raised the residential tax rate to $18.75 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Despite the high tax rate, Christian said she never would leave.

"The location is ideal and we have everything we need here, but it's still rural enough that you can drive by a farm and see animals," she said.

The town hall where Christian works is a big, old building located across from a town common where concerts are held during the summer months.

A few small stores and a cafe are on one side of the common and a cemetery at the other. This area of town is known as South Common.

North Common is located on the other end of town, and is adjacent to the commuter train station.

The streets are lined mostly with Capes, ranches and Colonials. Several new developments also have been built here.

Lee Parham, manager of Ed Pariseau Century 21 Realty in Mansfield, has lived here all his life. He said the town is a fine place to live, and accordingly the real estate market has been fantastic.

"Listings go quick here. The most common price range is the mid-$200,000s but we have some new construction listed at half a million dollars. A nice Colonial can be bought here for somewhere in the $300,000s. Lots of professionals have moved to Mansfield, but we have a nice blend of blue- and white-collar families," he said.

Parham added, "I keep waiting for something to change in the real estate market, but so far, nothing has. It's still good. Lots of young families keep moving into town."

When asked how he feels about the high tax rate, Parham said, "People in Mansfield are willing to pay for overrides to have the [benefits] that come with it. We have great schools, rubbish pickup and a very active recreation department."

The tax rate in town is dual, with the commercial rate set at $19.76 per $1,000.

Mansfield has a long history of attracting industry. While it started out in agriculture and iron work in Colonial times, it eventually moved toward industry.

In the early 19th century, the town several tack factories, cotton mills, machine foundries, and straw hat manufacturers.

One major development that has had a significant impact on the town is the Cabot, Cabot & Forbes Industrial Park built about 10 years ago.

With approximately 100 various businesses, warehouses and manufacturing companies, the park has created jobs, contributing to the town's tax base and increasing its population.

A Holiday Inn Convention Center and Hotel has been built in close proximity to the industrial park to accommodate business travel and meetings.

Industry aside, Christian said nobody can talk about Mansfield without mentioning the fact that it's known for being animal-friendly.

Last month, the Mansfield Animal Shelter held a Celebration For Animals on the South town common that raised $5,000. The event offered grooming and licensing for local cats and dogs, and in addition to a veterinarian, a canine chiropractor volunteered his time at the event.

Jeff Collins, Mansfield's humane officer, said the shelter, which can house up to eight dogs and 15 cats at a time, has a 98 percent adoption rate.

"The people in this town really pull together when it comes to animals," Collins said.

Christian said the only thing she would like to see improve in the town is participation in town meetings.

"We need 200 people to make our quorum and we often just make it. There are 12,000 voters in town and I'd like to see the number of people coming to the meetings increase to 400 to 500 people," she said.

The town recently sent out a survey to find out if changing meeting times would make it easier for residents to attend.

This story ran in the Boston Globe on 9/08/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company
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