Why Plan for Open Space & Recreation?
Open Space and Recreation areas are some of our most loved, utilized, and iconic community spaces. Maybe it's the local pool where we learned to swim, the wooded trail where we got to know a new tree, or the playground where we spent family time, these places hold a special place in our personal and community fabrics.
Additionally, there is growing appreciation for the value of key specialized open spaces, such as rivers and forests, in combating climate change impacts like extreme heat, flooding, and water quality challenges.
SRPEDD is frequently a lead partner in the development of community Open Space & Recreation Plans, the seven-year documents that communicate local visions and values for improving open space and recreation areas for all residents, users, and ecological functions. Mansfield's last plan was completed in 2016. SRPEDD is assisting the Town of Mansfield in creating its 2024 - 2031 Open Space & Recreation Plan by centering the voices and perspectives of Town residents, helping to make this your plan.
These plans open the door to potential grant funding for project implementation, but are equally important for the community conversations and involvement that SRPEDD helps to facilitate as part of plan development.
Why do we need natural areas?
In addition to the obvious recreational benefits Mansfield receives from its open space network, these natural areas also serve many other functions that make our community happier, healthier, and more resilient. This "Green Infrastructure" purifies our air and water, cools our neighborhoods during heat waves, protects our built infrastructure from flooding, and boosts local property values. Many studies have demonstrated the economic benefits of protecting natural open space.
Learn more about The Value of Nature here (Mass Audubon fact sheets).
Learn more about The Value of Land Conservation in Massachusetts here (MassLand resources).
Learn more about conserving resources on your private land here (MassWildlife resources).