In a time of limited resources and barely drivable roads, the Stoughton City Council has prioritized investing Stoughton’s tax dollars into retrofitting sidewalks onto properties where there are none, regardless of where these properties are. They have done so with little community input. Ironically, a recent regional survey of residents noted retaining green space was a top priority.

This means that homeowners who have tended to their land for, in many cases, decades, will now receive a concrete slab in place of their well-tended gardens. Neighborhoods have no say in what transpires in their microcommunity and this city council edict makes no consideration for the unique neighborhood environment, the preferences of the community members who live there, or whether a sidewalk is actually needed. In their desperate attempt to attract new residents to Stoughton, the Council is single-handedly infuriating current residents with this ridiculous retrofitting policy.

I will concede, there are a few high traffic areas where a good argument could be made for adding sidewalks. Other than those few, please consider investing community tax dollars in meaningful community projects, such as roads, parks, education, housing, food security, youth activities and support for our small business downtown.

I chose my home 20 years ago and raised two children here. They walked home from school and rode bikes and scooters in the street in front of our home. Yes, they are alive and well today in spite of growing up in a neighborhood with few sidewalks. I picked my neighborhood because of the things the city now wants to destroy – lush green lawns and its lack of concrete.

Over the past 20 years, the neighborhood has, for the most part, remained the same. Yes, people have come and gone, but traffic patterns and the large groups of families who choose to walk in my neighborhood are the same.

Stoughton Council – are sidewalks a priority on any resident’s list but yours? Please stop paving where it’s not needed and start paving where it is. Stop pointing at a current policy to justify your actions. You are policy makers – revise your policy. Make tax dollar investments where they are wise, welcome, and necessary.

Joanne Thorton

City of Stoughton