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A decrease of student renters in Macomb

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It’s not an uncommon sight to drive around Macomb particularly on the north side and see "For Rent" signs lining the streets.

"The vast majority of our rental property is student-driven," says Macomb Mayor Michael Inman.
"It’s a tough environment right now,” says Landlord Rich Westen.

Just a decade ago, landlords were scrambling to keep up with Western Illinois University’s student population and the demand for living quarters. Now, some landlords are struggling to fill properties.

One landlord says it’s been tough and they’ve had to change the way they do things.

"It does make you make adjustments in how you are marketing and how you are going out and reaching clientele and the potential tenants and it takes a lot of hard work to fill the units," said Westen.

Rich Westen owns over 100 units in Macomb.

He says he would like to see the university provide some vibrancy to the campus so it can be attractive for future students.

"I like the idea of hopefully we will still see a performing arts center on campus and hopefully we'll be able to do a west side renovation of Hansen Field its right in the center of campus and it will provide a very attractive appearance to WIU," says Westen.

Mayor Inman says the biggest unknown for the university has been answered.

"The state finally has a budget in place, the university has a budget for this fiscal year and is preparing their budget for the next fiscal year."

Mayor Inman also says the city is focusing heavily on continuing infrastructure improvements around the campus area.

"There’s a lot of good things going on around WIU and the campus that makes you believe that we will hopefully see this stabilize and some regrowth in the very near future," says Westen.

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