AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Monday, July 15, 2013
Mansfield Should Be Proud Of Local Businesses
This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, July 15, 2013
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
you are a local business in Mansfield, you might not exactly be “feeling the
love” from your Board of Selectmen.And
you certainly might be thinking twice about donating any money for the very
worthwhile purpose of painting a mural along the blank wall on Route 106 near
the MBTA station.
mural is being done by a professional artist with local volunteer help.It is a collaborative effort supported by the
Mansfield Music and Arts Society and other civic organizations as well as the
selectmen were very upset to learn the organizers of the project had agreed to
offer small spaces on the wall for the name and logos of eight local businesses
who would contribute $5000 each.They
were concerned it was contrary to the wishes of the townspeople, and worried it
would send the wrong message.
degrades our town.Mansfield isn’t for
sale,” Selectman Doug Annino told the Mural Committee folks at last week’s
board meeting.He added he believed the
concept of corporate sponsorship and advertising should have been brought up at
Town Meeting when the project was approved there.“I don’t think it’s right and I don’t think
it’s fair to voters.It’s not the bill
of goods they were sold.”
Kevin Moran also expressed his concerns about logos as part of the mural.He said he was afraid it would appear “more
like NASCAR”.He and other selectmen
asked the organizers to come up with a more “tasteful” way to recognize donors.
Annino and Mr. Moran may well be correct in their belief the sponsorship issue
should have been mentioned with more clarity at Town Meeting.But it is totally unfair when anyone infers
local businesses are in any way trying to buy Mansfield by participating in the
beautification of what has long been a Mansfield eyesore.
the time of the presentation to selectmen, three sponsors had agreed to make
the considerable donation that would qualify them to place their business on
the wall.One of those entities is a
local bank that has been serving Mansfield and area residents for over 100
years.Another is the area’s local
hospital where many of the residents of town were born.A third is a local fabric business with deep
roots in the community.
that sounds like just NASCAR.Oh wait –
mural is supposed to be representative of the history of the great Town of
Mansfield.It is in no way “selling out”
the town to have local businesses represented in that depiction.
are a part of the town’s glorious history, not a threat to it.Businesses contribute to the fabric of a
community, they don’t make them look like NASCAR (with apologies to all you
left-turn fanatics out there).Good
businesses that are loyal and involved in their community are to be celebrated,
not hidden away in the attic like that crazy rich uncle everyone knows about
but doesn’t want to admit they depend on.
is not Coca-Cola dropping a few thousand dollars to increase their worldwide
corporate image.These are local businesses,
in some cases owned by Mansfield residents, who seek to do what they are
continuously urged to do – support and give back to their community.
have in the past asked businesses to pay higher tax rates than the residential
homeowner.The town has often benefited
from gifts provided by local firms both large and small.That didn’t seem to be “degrading” to anyone.
done logos would recognize the generous contributions of local businesses to
the town that has supported them.It is
completely different from contributing to a park for a war hero.People looking at that wall 25 years later
would know these entities were an active and integral part of the town at the
the Mansfield selectmen I say – get over yourselves.If you don’t want the logos, that’s
fine.But don’t insult the businesses
you should be thanking.Recognizing them on a wall honoring the history of Mansfield would be
far from selling out or degrading.In
fact, it would be quite proper.
hope the mural winds up being a fitting tribute to a great town.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at