WE TALK about possibilities a lot in this space every Sunday.
We try to share big picture thinking, the character of this region and the legacy of hard work and integrity that have gotten us this far.
When we can — and when they will let us, we share with you the people who are working behind the scene to make what could be seen as improbable, possible.
And this week, we are going to share another victory — a project that has been years in the making.
Thursday, the community will officially open the Hope Center for Arts and Technology with a big celebration on the center’s campus.
There will be lots of people there — and they will be amazed by the incredible facility that has found a home on the West Hill.
But what they will not remember as they tour the beautifully decorated building and share the vision of hope that the center represents is how the project started.
They will not know the leap of faith it took or the hard work that went into getting the funding, communicating the process and the possibilities to backers and the effort required to get the red tape out of the way.
They could not know how hard it was for those who first considered the possibility of a Manchester Bidwell Corp. center in the Sharon area to take the steps necessary to make that vision a reality.
And they could not know the peaks and valleys that would accompany that journey.
The former school was dilapidated. Looking at it, you would not envision anything could possibly spring up from the remains of the once-proud building.
To see its potential, you had to look past its present circumstance.
How much like the story of the Shenango Valley — and the communities that surround it.
Getting here has been tough. The prosperity this region once enjoyed has been replaced with loss of industry and jobs and, sometimes, hope.
We have had disappointments, as many communities just like ours have.
But we are not stopping here. No way. We are reinventing ourselves and setting a new course.
We are taking a chance on a new vision.
HopeCAT is just one of those next steps, but it is an important one.
When you dream big, and you have the courage to act on that vision, your opportunities and your possibilities are endless.
You have to believe — in yourself and your neighbors. You have to put hope where disappointment once stood and see potential where no rational person would see it.
And you have to remember the lessons taught by generations of people who took just such a leap to find better lives for their families.
So this week, we will cut the ribbon at a center built on the theory that you can achieve just about anything you can imagine if you trust your gut and do the work.
What comes next depends on whether or not we are ready to take that next leap ourselves.
We think this community is ready.
We hope you do, too.