Bentonville: Addressing Needs Spawned by Growth (Quality of Life (Over 20K) | Winner)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 12:00 am  

Over the past two decades, Bentonville has grown from a sleepy hamlet tucked away into the corner of northwest Arkansas to perhaps the world’s most prominent small city of 35,000.

Being the home of the world’s largest retailer can do that to you. As the city has grown, so have its infrastructure needs. City voters passed a $15 million parks bond in 2007, and since then seven new parks have been constructed, two city parks have been renovated and four new recreational programs and four seasonal programs created.

Bentonville’s commitment to meeting the needs of its residents has earned it recognition as a 2011 Arkansas Business City of Distinction for quality of life.

The city estimates more than 20,000 previously underserved residents have benefited from these additions in the last year alone. Shelli Kerr, planning service manager for the city, said the new parks and programs have energized quality of life in Bentonville.

“The improvement and addition of new park facilities provides unlimited opportunities for future programming,” she said.

New Projects

Since 2009, the following projects have been completed:

Renovation of Memorial and Park Springs parks: Memorial Park is Bentonville’s community park. The parks bond enabled the city to renovate its pavilion, playground and restrooms. In addition, four volleyball courts were added, and they host recreational play plus competitive tournaments. More than 20 playing fields were renovated and a 12-court tennis complex constructed. At Park Springs, the creek bed was improved and a beginner mountain bike course added.

Creation of 16-acre Orchards Park: The park was opened on July 4, 2010, and sits across from the site of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It features gardens, pavilions, picnic areas, an amphitheater and open space. Orchards Park hosts the city’s summer concert series as well as other nonsporting events.

Creation of Gilmore and Enfield neighborhood parks: These parks were designed hand-in-hand with neighborhood residents. Enfield has trail access to the Crystal Bridges Trail, part of the Regional Razorback Greenway.

Opening of Lawrence Plaza downtown: Opened in November 2010 across from Compton Gardens and the Crystal Bridges Trail, the plaza features an ice skating rink, 100 feet by 70 feet. The rink served 10,000 skaters its first year. In the summer, the space converts to a fountain used as a splash pad by an estimated 225 children per day.

Opening of the Downtown Activity Center: Home of the Bentonville Parks & Recreation Department, the newly opened center is 8,200-SF and serves as a central location for recreational registrations and new wellness programs.



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