Despite protests from residents, the City Council has affirmed an earlier decision to install a sidewalk with a "planting strip" on 400 North between Davis Boulevard and 1250 East.

City engineers said the sidewalk and a four-foot planting strip between the sidewalk and curb are needed to buffer schoolchildren from traffic, which is increasing on the street.But residents of the section of 400 North in question are not enthused about deeding four feet of their front yards to the city and asked that the proposed buffer strip be eliminated.

In fact, the property owners offered to pay for the sidewalk themselves if it could be built against the curb, without the buffer strip.

But the City Council decided the buffer strip is necessary and refused the citizens' request. The sidewalk and buffer strip will be built at city expense.

City engineer Jack Balling said he believes the residents will go along with the council's decision and that condemnation probably will not be necessary.

Balling noted that the homeowners may lose four feet of land but would save more than $1,000 each by letting the city pay for the sidewalk with buffer strip.

The city engineer said he plans to meet with the property owners next week to answer questions and acquire the deeds. If all goes well in that meeting, construction on the $120,000 project could start immediately, he said.