Non-student neighbors: Tales from Edinboro's year-round residents

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at 6:40 PM
Non-student neighbors: Tales from Edinboro's year-round residents by Macala Leigey

In most small towns, the loudest sound at 11 p.m. on a Friday night is the soft roar of a lone car, driving along the subdued main street. But in Edinboro? That’s just the beginning of a noisy nightcap.

Boisterous laughter radiates from clusters of 20-something aged students as they briskly walk to the nearest house party. Possibly obnoxious top 40 radio fills the night air, as an unprecedented amount of tipsy 21-year-olds stumble out of the local bars.

The distant smell of alcohol and hints of adolescence remind residents nearly every weekend that Edinboro isn’t just any town — it’s a college town.

With Edinboro University students being a sizable chunk of the population for the majority of the year, non-student residents have experienced a variety of pros and cons of living near a state university.

Meadville Street — In the Middle Of It All

"First off, you have to define it in two ways. One, it’s a town that has a college in it, because the attitude around here really does not reflect a college town, generally speaking,” Meadville Street resident Fred Langill said.

Langill has lived in his current Meadville Street home for 35 years.

“I have no problem with students having parties. I have no problem with students enjoying not being in class and enjoying where they live, but if they choose to be in the community where there are non-student neighbors, you gotta realize a certain amount of responsibility of being an adult and behaving as so.”

Langill continued, “You’re not students when you step off the campus. If you’re neighbors and you’re living out here [off campus], you’re residents. You’re adults.”

Langill also shared the difference between being a non-student resident in a college town versus a resident of a non-college town.
“The difference is the disrespect and inconsideration of the adults who happen to be students. Coming into the town and having no respect for my property or my peace and quiet.”

He continued, “There has to be a look in the mirror of the student body of how they want to be perceived. I’m very pleased, generally speaking, with the students that I’ve had, once they realize that they’re supposed to behave like adults.”

Stonehaven Drive — The Safe Zone

“I’ve not had any problems. It’s a good place to live, [and] I’d recommend it,” said Stonehaven Drive resident Beryl Boetcker.
Boetcker has lived behind college park in her current Stonehaven Drive residence for 11 years. Boetcker shared she’s “not a community person,” and has not experienced any repercussions of living in a college town.

“I’m suffering badly with arthritis, but when I was out and about, it’s [Edinboro] a nice town to live in. I think, really, it’s a safe place to be,” Boetcker said.

Regarding off-campus parties or noise complaints, Boetcker responded, “Oh my goodness no. Loud music probably wouldn’t bother me anyway.”

Boetcker’s daughter, Helen Manross, added to her mother’s statement, by saying, “We’ve been here for many different occasions — Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays — you name it, and I’ve never heard any noise.”

Lakeside Drive — From Across The Lake

“I would give it a positive. Being here with a university. Definitely,” Lakeside Drive resident Ed Vago said.

Vago previously rented his Lakeside Drive residence to students for 22 years.

“I did have two bad semesters as a landlord.”

He continued, “There used to be a Mr. Donut where Tim Horton’s is now. I was in there one night fixing a machine and one of the town policemen said ‘we’ve been down to your house a number of times.’ The guys were renting it as a party house. I had to ask them to leave, [and] that was probably the worst.”

However, Vago shared that his “two bad semesters as a landlord” were not the reason he stopped renting his home to students.

“We didn’t stop because of bad experiences. We just stopped. It was time. None of us really had problems with college kids.”

Water Street ­— Close To The Action

“I haven’t called the police, but I could have. We’ve had people walk in drunk. I’ve seen people steal stuff from neighbors, and gone out and yelled at them; it doesn’t stop them,” said an anonymous resident of Water Street.

The resident continued, “We pick up beer cans almost every Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s just cause people just toss them. Then, when they live in houses, they really trash the front yards. They don’t have any respect for their own property, so I don’t know how they could respect ours.”

The Water Street resident has lived in a college town all of his/her life and has experienced multiple incidents with college students.

“I’ve always lived in a college town, from when I was a kid. I don’t know any different, but it’s exciting and it can be annoying as well, especially at 2 in the morning. At one point, we were thinking about moving out of the borough because it was so loud.”

They continued, “[We thought about it] especially when my kids were little. It was very disturbing. Just be respectful. The voices should be kept down, and also the language that they [students] use. The language is really disrespectful to others.”

“Just being aware of other people. It’s not always about them [students], which is hard at that age to understand.”

Despite his/her past experiences with college students, they still enjoy living in a college town.

“For the most part, there’s no trouble. We’re glad they’re here. We love college students, it can just get annoying when they don’t respect us.” 

At most colleges, students are just starting their weekend at 11 p.m. on a Friday night, but in Edinboro, residents are just settling in for the night. Exhausted children fall asleep to the humming of a TV, as weekend workers set their alarms for another Saturday morning shift. The darkened homes, the faint glow of street lights, and the soft silence of the streets remind students that Edinboro isn’t just a college town – it’s a home.

Macala Leigey is the news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at eunews.spectator@gmail.com.

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