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Business, Economics and Finance

State College hopes to fight the tide of student rentals with new Homestead Investment Program

People walking down State College street
Kate Lao Shaffner
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State College is a quintessential university town. During the school year, Penn State students more than triple the borough's population.

State College's Highlands residents are used to sounds of partying on weekend nights. The neighborhood borders Penn State's University Park campus and downtown. It's made up of fraternities and apartment buildings, but also single-family homes ranging from grand stone and brick historic mansions to more modest mid-century houses. The residents are quite the mix—college students, retired professors, and young families all call the Highlands home.

But it's not hard to tell who lives where.

On a tree-lined street a few blocks from downtown, State College Borough's Planning Director Ed LeClear points to two houses—identical in style but a stark contrast in terms of maintenance.

"The one property has the typical lawn chairs on the porch. It's not in as good shape as the one on the right—that one obviously someone's taken care of. They have a lot of plants." said LeClear. "When you look at the character of the two properties, I think one is what you'd like to see more of, and maybe one is less desirable."

Read the full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.

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