Imagine this: Neighbors on an adjacent block petition the residents of your street to install sidewalks on the entire street. The neighbors on your block organize and defeat the initiative, which does release the adjacent block to install the sidewalks on their own front lawns.

Imagine this: Neighbors on an adjacent block petition the residents of your street to install sidewalks on the entire street. The neighbors on your block organize and defeat the initiative, which does release the adjacent block to install the sidewalks on their own front lawns.

A year later city and utility trucks descend on your street and their worker bees tell you that both blocks are about to receive sidewalks courtesy of the federal government. Bewildered? Then perhaps you can understand why we are too.

During the spring of 2008, a majority of residents on the 1900 block of Glenn Avenue organized to oppose the imposition of sidewalks on a street that was never designed for 5-foot sidewalks and a 5-foot tree lawn. After identifying numerous street trees that would be damaged or cut down, some over 60 years old, a majority of homeowners on the block refused to sign a petition initiated by neighbors from the adjacent block to the south.

Fast forward to May 2009, the same residents who rejected last year's sidewalk are now facing a similar "concrete initiative," this time funded with federal stimulus monies. Unfortunately, this time around the residents were never informed about the project by the Upper Arlington city government until the planning and application process for the sidewalk rollout was essentially completed.

Daily, bewildered neighbors are witness to utility contractors and city staff surveying the block for a project we thought we had previously defeated.

Certainly advocates within the government looking for "shovel-ready" projects are so eager to spend taxpayer's money on sidewalks that they failed to ask the affected residents before moving ahead. If initiated, the sidewalk and adjoining tree lawn would plow up one-quarter to one-third of our front yards.

The city claims that sidewalks are necessary in order to link up with other sidewalk systems that connect to schools. In reality, Glenn Avenue is neither a connector nor arterial road, but a low volume traffic side street with lots of ambiance and street trees. If Glenn is considered a school route then so is every lane and cul-de-sac with one school age child living on it.

Is this really the best use for the stimulus money? Are there not other projects within the entire city that could have greater impact on its citizens?

Instead, the leadership has chosen to make a choice that benefits just a few homeowners and ignores the wishes of many others.

Given the opaque nature of this decision making process, Upper Arlington residents might do well to consider how to engage city government in its duty to perform due diligence so that citizens don't find it necessary to fight city hall for the preservation of their neighborhoods.