Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 12, 2011
The village of Mansfield in Tioga County, Penn., describes itself as a "quaint, Victorian town lined with cozy cafes, antique shops, and farmers' markets...nestled in the picturesque mountains of North Central Pennsylvania." Its name is derived from Asa Mann, who cleared the forest on his estate and laid out the town on "Mann's field" in 1804.
Today, Mansfield is the beneficiary of economic opportunities provided by the development of the Marcellus Shale formation - a rich source of natural gas that is said to be a game-changer for U.S. energy supplies, and for the people of Mansfield as well.
Census figures in 2000 noted that more than 26 percent of Mansfield's residents had incomes below the poverty line. Furthermore, during the recession, the area's unemployment rate soared to a high of 11.9 percent in March 2009. Due to part to Marcellus Shale development, the unemployment rate has dropped significantly. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tioga County's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in November 2010, which is well below the national average.
Each fall Mansfield residents celebrate a Fabulous 1890s Weekend by reenacting an important event in the town's history - the playing of the world's first night football game under electric lights. In coming years, perhaps they'll also commemorate their 21st Century prosperity from shale gas development.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.