Seth Godin's Triiibes is closing. It's survived 7 years, which is more than most communities.
In the last few years, membership dwindled, activity declined, and it was time to pull the plug.
Or was it?
Perhaps members should be allowed to pay the $400 annual fee to keep the site running.
Allowing members to run the site seems like the right thing to do. If they're willing to pay the fee, let them.
But there's a problem. You lose your ability to shut the site down.
In fact, you lose the ability to exert any control.
A monster of your creation is still your creation. Everything that creation does can still reflect upon you by previous association. For individuals/hobbyists, there isn't usually much risk there. For organisations, it's a bigger problem.
By all means let a community create and promote a different site they have created. People are welcome to copy and paste their favourite posts and publish materials elsewhere (you might be surprised just how happy most members are to walk away from everything and start afresh).
But if you've reached the end of your capacity to effectively manage a community, it usually makes more sense to shut it down than transfer control to members.