Put a cap on a neighborhood street, re-badge it a cul-de-sac, and everyone wants to live there.
It's not nearly so pleasant when the road closes -- on a country.
The Canadian border crossing at Noyes, Minnesota is shut down for good; the traffic directed west to a crossing at Pembina, North Dakota.
Not far from the padlocked gate in Noyes, stands a boarded up duty-free shop, along a road seldom traveled these days. Yet another drip, in the slow drain of Kittson County's population, now down to fewer than 4700 people -- half what it was in 1950.
But in one of the few restaurants left in the county, Rochelle Donaldson and her husband Brent are bucking the trend. "When I think about it now, I can't believe we did it," says Rochelle.
What the Donaldson's did last year was give up their home and Brent's secure job at Polaris an hour away Roseau, to buy the Caribou Grill in Hallock against all kinds of "don't do it" advice from their friends. "It's a dying town. It's a dying community," Rochelle says she was warned.
A community losing population its true, but one so grateful for two young business owners with three kids for its school, it sent volunteers to help the Donaldson's with their move.
"They still come to us and say 'Thank you for moving here, we appreciate your work and effort here,'' says Brent. "I just think that's amazing."
No more amazing than the reverse sticker shock Kittson county newcomers experience when shopping for a home. We found a three bedroom house a few blocks from the restaurant, listed at 21-thousand dollars. Estimated mortgage payment with 20% percent down: $103 a month.
"I like this place," says Rochelle. "I think it's beautiful and nice and cozy."
Caught in the slow drip of declining population, Kittson County looks at every arrival as another plug in the dike. But when your new arrivals are keeping open the restaurant where you'll likely dine for your next anniversary, that's something special.
"They took a big chance and we're all appreciative of that," says Val Gallaway from a booth in the Caribou dining room.
Hallock is a community that takes for granted neither a new family nor a good meal.
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)