SidewalkChoice was started by a group of Bellaire residents who feel the $55 million dollar 2016 Bonds for Better Bellaire bond issue left out important facts about how the funds would be used. Initially there were to be four bond propositions on the ballot, but at the request of a member of City Council the $4 million for Proposition 4 for sidewalks only was rolled into Proposition 1.
This is how the bond issue was promoted by the City to residents, focused on new street and drainage projects, with no mention of stand-alone sidewalks:
On November 8, 2016, the City of Bellaire held a bond election to allow residents to vote on the funding mechanism for three separate propositions. All three propositions passed.
- This program will continue the work of the Bellaire Millennium Renewal (2000) and Rebuild Bellaire (2005) bond programs to design and construct streets and drainage systems with sidewalks on at least one side of the street
- Projects will address replacement of streets and drainage systems in order to reduce the occurrence of flooding and improve street conditions
- Streets and drainage systems to be replaced are identified based upon relative priority as determined by condition
- Includes new city hall/civic center and police/municipal court building
- Maintains campus approach to Bellaire Town Square (Bellaire-Zindler Park)
- Allows for long range plans for a new library to be incorporated
- Supports desires expressed by citizens in multiple public meetings, including building locations and overall site planning
- Developed with guidance from two citizens’ ad hoc advisory committees which address layout, adjacencies, and design aesthetics
- Allows larger and improved police work and training spaces and accommodates construction cost escalation
- The advanced age and deterioration of water lines, meters, and facilities has led to a decrease in the overall efficiency of the system and rising maintenance costs
- Over 40% of utility lines are between 40 and 70 years old, 67% of water meters are over 15 years old, and the wastewater treatment plant is over 40 years old
- Water lines scheduled for upgrade are those identified as the most critically in need of replacement
- System and financial efficiency will be improved with upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant and the replacement of water meters and aging water and wastewater lines