It’s time for the neighbourhood to make a choice: stay the course or revitalize. Each holds a very different future.
Option 1: Stay the Course
The first sign of decline is when the school shuts down. With enrolment dropping, the neighbourhood kids are diverted into a new school in one of the nearby communities.
The bus ride isn’t much longer, but the image of the empty playground in the once vibrant schoolyard is a difficult sight for some of the older residents.
Next it’s the businesses. Some choose to stay out of loyalty to the area, but with better prospects in the city’s denser areas, many are forced to move.
One of the grocery stores shuts down and, after months of being unable to find a tenant, the building has to be dismantled.
Option 2: Revitalization
The first sign of change is when a couple of residents subdivide their lots. With the kids gone, they downsize their homes by building on one side and selling or renting out the other. A few others in the neighbourhood decide to add a garage or secondary suite.
As they do, a sense of excitement starts to fill the neighbourhood. It’s not the same feeling as when community was being established, but it’s vibrant all the same.
People take notice when a developer buys a number of lots and converts them to row houses. It’s a different feel for some in the community, but the developer’s commitment to build homes that fit the character of the neighbourhood is encouraging. Once finished, a new wave of young families begins to move in and the neighbourhood experiences the first stages of its second chapter
The streets come alive, the schools fill back up, and businesses once again thrive.