By James Perez
Niagara Gazette — For the past two years, homeowners and taxpayers on Clifton Avenue, Lewiston Road, Seymour and Macklem avenues have had to endure the troubling, aggravating and disgusting behavior of drunken, predominately underage, Niagara University students.
On the corner of Clifton Avenue and Lewiston Road is the “Rugby house” and the “Hockey house” on Lewiston Road. The Rugby house has been Niagara University’s largest off-campus party house for the past two school years. Both houses have continuously hosted large, loud and extremely drunken parties. Underage drinking runs rampant at all parties.
In our neighborhood, parking laws are totally ignored during and after the parties. Odd/even parking is a joke. Alleyways, private driveways and even city snowplows have been blocked by student party goers. We have picked up hundreds of beer cans, bottles and plastic cups, dozens of liquor bottles and pounds of garbage. Being woken up in the middle of the night by groups of students flooding the streets and alleys and hosing vomit from our sidewalks is a regular occurrence. My property has been urinated on, defecated on and fornicated on.
Most of the students have changed but this semester has started with police being called to the Rugby house for blowing off M-80’s and fireworks in their backyard. The second incident was reported in the Niagara Gazette police blotter on Sept. 4 as four Niagara University students coming from a Lewiston Road party (the Hockey house) were observed urinating on cars and vandalizing one in the alley between Clifton and Seymour avenues.
The reason these students/children are so brazen, rude and disrespectful is because they know they face absolutely zero consequences for their drunken behavior from the police or from Niagara University.
We have spoken with Dean of Students Carrie McGlaughlin on many occasions. The dean is empathetic and gives the impression that she and the college are being proactive in trying to curb this behavior. If the college has done anything it has had no visible affect whatsoever.
The Lewiston property owner of the Rugby house and the Youngstown owners of the Hockey house apparently have no responsibilities for what goes on at their properties and seem like the could care less what goes on in our neighborhood at the hands of their tenants.
The Niagara Falls Police Department have been cooperative when called to intervene between neighbor and students and have regularly broken up wild, loud, out of control parties. Their responses to neighborhood questions regarding DWI, underage drinking, public intoxication and open container laws are always the same. “Call Niagara University.”
The situation in the streets of DeVeaux must change. There must be a political and administrative mandate to stop this problem.
Owners or tenants must be held responsible for the underage drinking taking place in these rental properties. Drunken students roaming the streets with 12-pack in hand should be cited. The club Rugby and Hockey teams and the players involved should be sanctioned by Niagara University.
As taxpayers we applaud the city administration and understand the dangers the police work with to improve the quality of life in several neighborhoods in downtown Niagara Falls. At the same time we call on city leaders, Police and Niagara University to come up with a plan, enact it and restore the quality of life we once had in our neighborhood.James L. Perez is a 25-year owner and resident of Clifton Avenue in Niagara Falls.