Graduate students from Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business just presented the third installment of a three-phase project designed to provide a plan to spur economic development in Richland County.
The Richland Community Development Group, who commissioned the project, is poised to release the plan soon, which includes many of the projects our campus is currently involved in – a campus district, an EcoLab and a wellness center – with an underlying message of community collaboration as well as attraction and retention of young professionals.
This group of students, as well as earlier groups from a City and Regional Planning studio class at the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, for the most part have never set foot in Richland County, save for a drive along I-71. But they are precisely the future young professionals we hope to attract through the campus district project.
These students formed a very positive image of Richland County – a vibrant place with entertainment, nightlife and a business community who collectively is making Mansfield a better place to live.
Area residents always have had the perception that Ohio State Mansfield is more of a gateway to Columbus, and for many students that is still true. Depending on the degree they seek, they must transition to Columbus to finish. However, we are finding a subtle shift in the number of students who are staying at Ohio State Mansfield for at least a second year, and with more and more students deciding to stay all four years to earn one of nine bachelor’s degrees offered on our campus.
As noted in one of the articles in this edition, one way to entice these growing numbers of students to stay longer with us is through the vision of the campus district. By providing entertainment, shopping, dining, housing and other amenities that students have come to expect of campuses and the communities that surround them, we will enhance the quality of life for students, so much so that we hope they will stay in the community even after they graduate!
Collaboration among government, economic development partners and chamber of commerce members, along with input from students and young professionals, can bring this campus district concept to life. Come join us in making this vision a reality! Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.