I chose the neighborhood a friend lives in off of Coolidge Road, north of Saginaw. Contrary to the always congested Saginaw Road, Coolidge is usually peaceful, especially for its large size, having two lanes going each way. After passing multiple apartment complexes along Coolidge Road, a large sign introduces you to the neighborhood where I observed, Coolidge Place.
Right off the mainroad is the small entry into this neighborhood. Throughout my time there, this road named Pebblecreek Boulevard rarely had more than one car at a time traveling on it. Immediately after driving in, a small sized office greets you. At this time, the office is closed and the lights are out, but beyond it you can hear the splashing of the community pool. Despite being so close to a university’s campus and having college residents, this neighborhood somehow retains a small town feel. No stores in sight, nothing reminding you that Lansing is just down the street.
Town homes line all the small streets with the lawns well groomed and the bushes trimmed. The homes themselves almost look pristine, although nothing stands out about it. All of the houses are cookie-cutters, blending in with each other. The occasional lawn ornament or stray bike is the only thing that differentiates one from another. Modest cars fill the spots in front of these homes, nothing fancy or eye-catching. Minivans seem to make up the majority and with good reason.
It is easy to tell it is summer even at 6 pm when I see kids of all ages and ethnicity hanging out together, running around, and playing games. The pool is filled and parents are supervising from their porch. The nostalgic scent of dinner on the grill wafts through the air, reminding me of a time before being a broke college student.
In another neighborhood further up the street, just past some trees, small fireworks can be heard. More college students live there and it shows from the condition of the apartments and the lawns. The trees mark an obvious boundary for both the college students in these apartments and the younger kids of Coolidge Place, with each group minding their own business.
On the other side of Coolidge Road lies a more traditional neighborhood, with winding roads and separate houses. Although each house has its own personality given by the different styles of architecture and colors, compared to Coolidge Place, this neighborhood lacks the liveliness and inclusion. Not a single person was seen walking around this neighborhood.