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Mansfield Leaders Bracing For Economy Boom

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MANSFIELD (CBSDFW) - Mansfield has quietly built an economic engine that now appears to be racing forward with huge growth ahead. The city's economic director says builders are preparing to erect at least 4,500 new homes in coming months.  And that's a conservative estimate.

"At 3.2 people per household, that's another 16 to 17,000 people that'll be moving to Mansfield," said Mansfield Economic Director Scott Welmaker. "So, we've got to get them restaurants. We've got to get shopping for them. We've got to give them a reason to stay here on the weekends."

And the commercial construction boom has already begun. At least nine food establishments opening, planned or under construction, three new grocery stores, entertainment areas, medical offices and a major new shopping center.

And they're not businesses that have to wait on people to move to Mansfield.

Brand new restaurants like Smokey Mae's Barbecue opened to lines of customers out the door.

"We knew it was going to be big,. but we didn't know it was going to be that big!" exclaimed Smokey Mae's General Manager Robert Lambert.

That's because Mansfield already has a population that was driving to other cities for services.

"I've been here for 20+ years so I've been here when there was actually nothing in the area," said Cynthia Jackson who'd stopped at the new restaurant for lunch. "So, we've been waiting quite some time for something like this."

Add in new Mansfield residents to the mix and it's a recipe for a business boom to continue far into the future.

"Everything is going to keep coming this way and everything is going to continue to grow," Lambert said.

The growth may be peaking, but it isn't an overnight phenomenon.

"Every month you get your year to year sales tax, and we had one dip in 2009 and every other one has been a record high," Welmaker said. "Consistently high."

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