Re: Main Street #2 and the Vankleek Hill mural; one of the signs that a small town Main Street is in the survial mode is murals. While this is not always the case, murals are commonplace in towns and on Main Streets in decline. That is especially so when murals are painted on vacant storefront windows with the intent of masking the vacancy. However, to my eye and sensibilities, those window murals seem to scream "vacancy".
Vankleek Hill is a small town that displays definite signs of decline. However, the town seems to be on the rebound thanks to a micro brewery which now employs 200 people (and rising). Au Sable Forks on the other hand doesn't have any prospects for such an enterprise like a brewery.
The fate of the Au Sable Forks Main Street is linked to the (dare I write, limited) imaginations of a group of citizens on the Revitalization committee / organization. Those earnest (and they are genuinely so) citizens seem completely oblivious to the fact that Main Street Au Sable Forks is the major artery - infact, virtually the only artery - into the Adirondacks for Canadian and northern Vermont tourists. So, while they continue their quest for community-based businesses - say, a hardware store - many 10s of thousands of money spending tourists past through town without a single reason to stop.