Much has been printed regarding Lindenwood vs. neighbors regarding overcrowding in residential neighborhoods. Here’s what I’ve learned — it appears to be Lindenwood and our mayor/city administration vs. neighbors.
Lindenwood bought the campus for $1. The bigger story is the City of Belleville agreed to pay Lindenwood $150,000 per year for 20 years. Who’s really paying for the upgrades? Lindenwood was granted tax-exempt status — no real estate taxes assessed on L.U. properties. For 10 years the city has looked the other way on demolition/building/occupancy permits/fees.
Lindenwood is first now requesting a special-use variance listing every house, apartment, motel and commercial property they have purchased since their arrival. That means these dwellings have been occupied illegally all along. With no accountability, Lindenwood has muscled their way into our neighborhoods three and four blocks away from the main campus and those neighbors are saying enough.
Lindenwood has improved the “face” of the Main Street campus. But homes purchased beyond that tell another story. Backyards scraped off for gravel parking, spotlights on each house, traffic, partying/drinking/drugs/trash, and reports of sexual assault. These issues exist with six students per house. Lindenwood wants 10 and the mayor is prepared to grant this request. Many neighborhoods are facing 70 students per street. These issues will not be alleviated by increasing the occupancy.
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Lindenwood is taking advantage and I believe the mayor is on the wrong side of the word “versus.” Shouldn’t it read Lindenwood vs. the mayor and his citizens?
Sandy Behrmann, Belleville