Kettering residents fight city over sidewalks

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – A proposal to add sidewalks in a Kettering neighborhood is facing opposition steeper than the terrain itself.

For 29 years, Tom Craft has lived in his home along W. David Rd in Kettering.

And for 29 years, he has liked it just the way it is.

“It’s beautiful,” Craft said of his property.

But for the last year, Craft along with 24 other property owners have been urging the city not to change the infrastructure on one side of the road between Far Hills Ave. and Overland Trace.

“We don’t want the change,” said Craft. “We like the country atmosphere.”

Kettering city officials have been planning to make changes to W. David Rd. for years. The city’s engineering director said he got the go-ahead from council last year to begin working on a proposal to add a curb, sidewalk, and drainage. The proposal would also resurface that stretch of roadway.

Property owners, however, feel the change would encourage a busier and more dangerous street.

“We feel like if they make this change, it will increase the speeding on the road and be more dangerous,” said Craft. “Ruin the aesthetics of the whole neighborhood.”

On Tuesday, Kettering City Council called a special public meeting with the 25 residents along W. David Rd. to discuss the proposal.

Residents were told the plan was to help make the road safer and encourage pedestrian travel from nearby Walther Park to Far Hills Ave.

“It’s always going to be much safer to have a sidewalk along the roadway than to have people walking along the edge of the roadway which may or may not be safe,” said Steve Bergstresser, Engineering Director for the city of Kettering.

But property owners are also concerned about the price tag attached to the additions.

The estimated price of the project is expected to cost around $600,000. The people living along W. David Rd. are being asked to pay between $2000 and $8000 for work done in front of their property.

Bergstresser said it is city policy to require home owners to pay part of the costs.

“The city really has a long-standing policy of assessing adjacent property owners for the cost of concrete improvements in front of their home with the rest of the taxpayers of the city of Kettering picking up the remainder of the costs,” said Bergstresser.

It is a cost many of the residents said they would not want to pay considering they do not want the improvements in the first place.

“Why should they come in and change what we want over here,” said Craft. “It doesn’t make sense to any of us.”

The proposal would have to be passed by Kettering City Council before the project begins.

No date has been set for when the proposal would be added to a council meeting.

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