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

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

Construction of the 2.5-mile South Bentonville Trail: Completed this past spring, the trail serves as the backbone of the Regional Razorback Greenway, stretching from Fayetteville to Bentonville, and connects directly to the Rogers Greenway system. It runs adjacent to Bentonville High School, Northwest Arkansas Medical Center and the Wal-Mart corporate fitness center.

Opening of the city’s first dog park, Bentonville Bark Park: Adjacent to the North Bentonville Trail, the park includes separate areas for big and small dogs and an agility course. A committee led by a local Girl Scout privately raised $150,000 to open the park.

Planned construction of the 75,000-SF Bentonville Community Recreation Center: Construction will begin this fall. Amenities will include a gym, indoor running track, two pools (leisure and competitive) and community meeting rooms.

New Programs

New programs include youth soccer, which kicked off in the fall of 2010 with about 1,100 kids ages 3 to 16; adult kickball, which began last fall with 60 participants; girls softball, 630 kids ages 4 to 16, and tennis.

New events include An Evening at Orchard Park: Fourth of July Celebration, which had an estimated 6,500 spectators this year; the Bentonville Running Festival, which featured 1,200 runners this past April; Concerts at Orchard Park, a series of six concerts (disco, jazz, country and rock) that averaged 400 folks per show, and the new First Friday Flicks at Lawrence Plaza, which began in March with an average attendance of 75.

This infusion of recreational programming prompted the city to hire two full-time employees devoted to these self-sustaining programs.

The passage of the parks bond should continue to have an impact on Bentonville for years to come.

“The parks bond kicked off the biggest effort to improve the park and recreation system in Bentonville’s history,” Kerr said.

Which is, after all, the least residents could do for the most prominent small city in the world.



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