Think it's easy to gain traction with a sidewalk project?

Think again.

Right-of-way disputes, boulevard trees and concerns about aesthetics can all make it a contentious issue — especially in older neighborhoods. A sidewalk project sparked so much controversy a few years ago that the city of Roseville walked away from federal dollars.

"Everyone wants a sidewalk, but nobody wants a sidewalk in their front yard," said Roseville City Engineer Marc Culver.

Aware of the demand for more walkability, Roseville didn't give up. Now construction has started on a two-mile walking path along County Road B2 from Rice Street to N. Lexington Avenue. The path will make it easier to walk to Rosedale Center, Roseville Area High School and Central Park Elementary, plus the library, Roseville City Hall and Central Park, just a few blocks off B2.

The city plans to add another sidewalk along a stretch of Victoria Street next year.

Walking paths are gaining popularity as aging suburbs try to rebrand themselves for a new generation of home buyers. St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Edina have programs to add sidewalks. Shoreview in northern Ramsey County is adding a mile of trail along N. Lexington Avenue, completing a path that stretches the length of the city.

As one urban planner put it: Millennials grew up in the back seat of their parents' minivan. Now they want something different — more convenience and less drive time. Even baby boomers once content with cul-de-sac living are looking for more walking paths.

"That's an inter-generation push," Culver said. "Baby boomers reach retirement and they want to remain active. Millennials and Gen-Xers want to be able to ride their bikes to work and to be active."

In Roseville, money from city parks bonding and from Ramsey County is helping to pay for the $1 million project. No property owners were assessed and the city will plow the path in the winter, Culver said.

There were some casualties. About a dozen trees were taken out, Culver said, but the city is working on some replacements.

Twitter: @stribshannon