I’ve heard many people say “Lindenwood saved Belleville.” This very well may be true. This university has brought many people to Belleville from all over the country. It’s no secret that some college students make their “college town” their new “home town”. I hope this happens.
When then-Mayor Kern got Lindenwood to come to Belleville, there were prosperous plans for dormitories. I don’t believe anyone said, “We’re going to buy up 50 houses and put eight, 10, 12 students in two- and three-bedroom homes; it’ll be great.” But, sadly, that’s what is happening.
McDonald’s restaurants don’t make two different cheeseburgers. The floor plan at any Walgreens is the same anywhere in the country. They have experience of what works and what doesn’t. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some kind of working formula to emulate? Duplication is the greatest form of flattery, right? Wait ... isn’t there a Lindenwood-St Charles?
I have had conversations with City of St. Charles senior inspector about university housing and it’s history. Lindenwood University-St Charles purchased many older homes around the St Charles campus that were not marketable because of age and poor upkeep — 100-year-old homes. Sound familiar? The City of St Charles enforces basically the same housing rules that all residents follow: one person per bedroom, if a room has 120 square feet you could have two in a room. If a living room has 120 square feet, you could have one person occupy that room.
They also have inspections. Every year, every house is inspected. The inspection process we have is what makes Belleville neighborhoods safe and respectable. Who thought, “We don’t need to inspect Lindenwood housing”? The City of St Charles knows that the parents of the students would never stand for that. Guess what St Charles doesn’t have? Homeowners screaming “help — we’re losing our neighborhood.” Oddly enough, the biggest eyesore in the neighborhood is from a homeowner in the 300 block of South 29th. The neighborhood already suffers greatly because of one homeowner.
Lindenwood-St Charles has a history of problem-solving with procedures, rules and regulations and, most importantly, consequences. It’s essentially the same university in essentially the same kind of city. Lindenwood doesn’t have students receiving housing allowance, even for scholarship athletes. So housing is a major revenue for the college balance sheets. Obviously the more students you can put in a fewer number of houses equals maximum profits. Lets just hope safety and our neighborhoods aren’t exploited.