WHEN THERE is a big problem, like abandoned neighborhoods and lost jobs, it is easy to sit back and think the situation is never going to get better.
The problem seems overwhelming. The road back seems long, hard and unachievable.
Some sit back and think, “There is nothing we can do, so why try?”
The trick is deciding that a community’s future is not fated and that turning it around just takes a new vision.
And you get there by tackling one problem, taking one curve at a time.
So the news that a Masury, Ohio, neighborhood is getting its second chance, and that the Brookfield Board of Trustees has its sights set on bringing even more once thriving, now struggling, industrial neighborhoods back to life, well, that is what we call a start.
The problem Masury and Brookfield face is the same one that has hit communities in the Shenango Valley and beyond.
The old ways, the former industries that employed thousands of local families, are gone.
So, we have a choice.
We can sit back and wait, or we can overcome the obstacles, one hurdle at a time.
And it starts by bringing back the neighborhoods.
Blight is an issue all over this region and spreads beyond borders and state lines.
It is a subject we don’t like to talk about, but it is one we have to face head-on.
And that means thinking outside of the box.
The grant will improve storm drains and other infrastructure items, but it will give the community something else even more important.
It might not seem like much, but it is a place where families can enjoy an afternoon and a spot where memories can be made.
It is a high point, a place that helps make a collection of houses on a block into a neighborhood.
And we need a whole lot of that.
The discussion sponsored by three local chambers of commerce that will be held in October, Rising Rust Belt, will put people together from both sides of the state lines to talk about the future they see for the communities they love.
Its message is universal, and it is one that Ohioans should embrace, too.
If we want to get more, we have to expect more.
And that is what happened in Masury this week — Brookfield’s board of trustees brought home a chance to start that change.
But the credit for earning the grant goes to the families and community members who came forward when it was time to support the application and to plan for the improvements.
They stuck by their community — and now something good is on the way.
Perhaps it is that peek into the possibilities and the future.
Who knows, maybe someday our children and grandchildren will talk about the first steps their families took to rebuild their communities. They will talk about the work, the vision and the hope.
And they might even carry on the good works and build upon what we started.
Now that’s a gift, a legacy and a dream to strive for.
And all it takes is for a few people to believe now.