Bentonville Stresses Its Small-Town Feel

by Marty Cook  on Monday, Mar. 17, 2014 12:00 am  

Thrive, a mixed-use apartment complex, will be just a few blocks from Bentonville’s downtown square. (Artist’s rendering)

The improving economy has sparked some action, and leaders hope the success of one project creates some developmental momentum.

One major player in Bentonville’s revitalization downtown was the opening of Crystal Bridges. McCaslin said the museum was not only a game changer for Bentonville but for the whole region because of the influx of visitors, with more than 650,000 the first year and 1 million in the first 21 months.

Ginn said many businesses tried to take advantage of the museum’s opening by moving into downtown only to get stuck when Crystal Bridges’ opening was delayed. Several businesses failed in part because of that, Ginn said. Bentonville leaders want to make sure future businesses have better success.

Whatever decisions are made, whatever boutique or restaurant opens, McCaslin said the city stands ready to help. “Maybe one area is better suited for retail and another area is better suited for arts,” McCaslin said. “We’re just encouraging and supporting things.

“So many pieces have come together. I like what is happening downtown. I think Bentonville’s future will be better than any of its pasts.”



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