in Check It Out, Green, Raleigh


The sidewalks along Frank Street across from Conn Elementary don’t reach to Brookside Drive. Being the civic geek that I am, I thought I would petition the City of Raleigh to put one in.

It looked like a slam dunk to me: the city will install sidewalks and pay for them provided the affected property owners agree. There’s been a well-worn “goat trail” from the Brookside crosswalk to the corner of Frank and Norris from years of kids coming and going to school. The city owns 75% of the affected property, with only one private property owner to deal with.

Therein lies my problem. The city may own most of the property affected but it doesn’t take a position on these projects. Thus it doesn’t count towards the petition. That means instead of getting the normal 75% of property owners to agree, I have to get 100% of one property owner to agree.

That has proven to be challenging. The owner in this case is in her 90s. She’s lived here longer than the neighborhood has been here. She and her daughter have had a lot of questions about the project and how it would affect their tree and fence. I’ve visited them more than once to explain what I hope to get done and answer their questions but it’s taken every bit of sales skill I possess to get them to see the vision.

I finally decided not to push things and went many months without contacting them. I thought today I would try again and, based on my phone call with her daughter, I think there’s still hope. The answer’s not yes yet but at least it isn’t no. They’re leaving town for the week but I will pick things back up with them when they return.

What once looked like an easy task of convincing one neighbor about the value of a sidewalk has turned out to be far more challenging than I anticipated!