Nancy Wall has called Mansfield home for 22 years, and given one of the key roles she plays in town, her last name fits well.
Wall works with Keep Mansfield Beautiful. She is in charge of the mural installation near the North Common, site of a recent makeover by the town and something of a downtown crossroads, where Route 106 intersects with North Main Street. She is an active volunteer and member of the Board of Health and the group that oversees the town's nonprofit gift fund.
"It's a little bit of a laid-back town, which is nice," Wall said. "It's not pretentious."
Mansfield is a lot like other suburban towns, close to highways, with commuter rail access and good schools, Wall said. Downtown still has a commercial base, though chain stores have set up shop near Route 495, putting competitive pressure on the community's homegrown businesses. Housing developers have been attracted to downtown, near the commuter rail station.
The town has walking trails that were constructed on old rail beds, and the National Resources Trust of Mansfield acquires and preserves open land.
There are also opportunities to enjoy arts and culture. An organization known as MMAS runs a black-box theater, art gallery and association, and coffeehouse open-mike nights.
Mansfield is undergoing a lot of change, but as the downtown mural project reflects, the arts remain a focus and a great source of pride.
BY THE NUMBERS
Number of dolls at the National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture in Mansfield Center. A selection is on display Thursday through Monday at 288 North Main St.
Amount the Rev. Jacob Ide raised in 1883 to start a free library, which was established by Town Meeting on March 17, 1884, with an additional appropriation of $500
Miles of trails in The Great Woods, Mansfield's largest conservation area. The Great Woods are west of Mansfield Municipal Airport and extend into Norton.
PROS & CONS
Arts and culture
There are myriad opportunities to hear big musical acts at the Xfinity Center and smaller folk concerts organized by Rose Garden Coffeehouse and held at the Orthodox Congregational Church of Mansfield.
Population growth and development have led to traffic congestion, making for difficult commutes at times around town
The town has municipal electric, which offers competitive rates and good service.