The numerous road projects across the city can certainly try the patience of Mansfield drivers. It can also place an extra burden on local businesses who depend on the customer traffic.
That’s why economic development officials with the city are driving home the “Shop Mansfield: It Makes Cents” campaign to encourage residents to focus their spending habits locally, even in the midst of road construction.
“We promote the Shop Mansfield campaign all year long because it has a direct impact on our local economy,” said Scott Welmaker, director of economic development for the city. “But it is important now to not forget our local businesses, especially the small businesses who are impacted by the construction we’re seeing around town.”
Current road construction projects like Debbie Lane, between FM 157 and North Main Street, and East Broad Street, between U.S. 287 and Cannon Drive, are in areas with several local businesses and industries. Special signage has been put in place to help drivers find these businesses along the construction route.
“Road construction is a fact of life in a community, but even more so in a growing community,” said Deputy City Manager Joe Smolinski. “The city is not intentionally trying to have construction on every major roadway. But funding and the schedules dedicated by the state often mean we have a lot of construction happening at the same time. Some of these projects are directly tied to the city’s growth and new development.
“Our goal as a city is to minimize as much as we can the impact to our residents as they drive through the community and that includes our business owners,” he said. “We post “Shop Mansfield” reminders on social media along with the traffic and construction alerts. It’s in our best interest as a city that these businesses succeed and keep our local economy strong.”
Local business owners agree and say they hope Mansfield residents are willing to endure a little inconvenience to support them.
“Even though it may be a little inconvenient it is important to remember to shop at businesses along Debbie Lane during the construction,” said April Young, owner of Todd Self Storage on West Debbie Lane. “As a small business we employ local residents and give back to the community, so we hope Mansfield residents will think about us even when there is road construction.”
The reconstruction of West Debbie Lane is expected to be completed this summer, along with the widening of East Broad Street between U.S. 287 and Cannon Drive. Construction will soon begin on the North Main Street trail project that will connect the Walnut Creek Linear Park to historic downtown with walking paths, roadway lighting and on-street parking.
Later this summer, the South Main Street project begins to redesign the roadway to an urban street with a four-lane roadway incorporating on-street parking, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and enhanced streetscape.
“All of these projects are exciting and will enhance our community on many levels,” Smolinski said. “We use the saying ‘short term pain for long term gain’ because we believe that the end results are worth the construction headaches. But we also want to make sure that we keep our local businesses healthy during the process. And that’s up to all of us to do.”