WESTCHASE — First, parents of students at Bryant Elementary School were in favor of the new sidewalk.
Stretching from Westwood Lakes Boulevard to Chase Grove Drive, about a mile from the school on Nine Eagles Drive, parents hoped it would increase safety for students.
Then came the news that would change their minds and spark a more than yearlong debate on the issue: Construction of the sidewalk could eliminate courtesy busing for students living within 2 miles of the school.
By that time, the county had already invested about $72,000 in planning the sidewalk. During past public meetings, some residents spoke passionately against the project. No opponents, however, showed up for the final meeting on the matter in November when county commissioners approved the $286,000 project. Construction started this month and is expected to take three months.
As for courtesy busing, the 50 to 75 students who currently use it will still be able to do so. For now.
"Any kind of courtesy busing within 2 miles of the school is always subject to some kind of review," Stephen Hegarty, a spokesman for the school district, said recently.
Shelley Rossetter, Times staff writer