Sustainable sprucing up coming to Mansfield

The mansfield town council meets on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 for their weekly meeting in Town Hall. Items on the agenda included public comment on changes to housing ordinances and discussion of the new plans for the beautification of town hall. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

With Storrs Center nearing completion, other areas of Mansfield are in need of a newer, nicer look, according to UConn professor of landscape architecture Kristin Schwab.

Schwab presented a master plan for sustainably refurbishing the community center and municipal building area of Mansfield, the space across from Storrs Center, at the Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, Mansfield Town Council meeting.

The plan was developed by UConn undergraduates and Schwab over the course of about a year and a half with input from the Sustainability Committee of Mansfield Town Council, Schwab said.  

The proposals include increasing pedestrian and bicycle friendly areas while accommodating vehicles, constructing a solar carport and installing a cistern for collecting rainwater, Schwab said.  

“We’re trying to have environmental protection and increased environmental health of our landscape, as well as increased regenerative capacity,” Schwab said.  

Despite general consensus that the plan would benefit Mansfield, many council members expressed concern about where the money for a project of this scale would come from.

“I have two questions on my mind,” Mayor Paul Shapiro said. “The first being, ‘How much is it going to cost?’ and the second, ‘Is there an avenue for more input from a larger segment of the town?’’’

Council members also expressed concerns regarding the efficiency of enacting this plan in light of other projects the town is already investing in.

“We have in process the project for reviewing our hard assets,” council member Virginia Raymond said. “We’ve had deferred maintenance once. I have no idea how any of this fits into facility maintenance plans.”

Due to budgetary and planning needs, the project would most likely not be complete for five to seven years. Five to seven years would allow enough time to combine the sustainability and facility maintenance plans, Council Member Antonia Moran said.  

“It’s good to think of the campus as a whole, instead of isolated pieces of sidewalk, grass, and road. This shouldn’t be dealt with in an isolated way,” Moran said.  

Since the planning of the project brought many people together, its potential completion would do the same.  

“This was a project on a volunteer basis with students, so you’re getting a lot of value for what you paid,” Schwab said.

Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at