Parks & Recreation

Improvement Projects


December 2021

8th Street Gateway:

Working alongside the designer and construction manager, the design development phase continues to progress. Bentonville Parks and Recreation is finalizing the park layout, character of the amenities, and designated spaces. The construction document phase will begin once the design phase has concluded.


Phillips Park:

Bentonville Parks and Recreation staff is working with the park designers in the concept phase of the project, focusing on the field number, size, and layout.


28th Street Park:

Construction phase will begin soon, with an expected completion timeline planned for mid to late 2023.


Melvin Ford Aquatic Center:

Project planning and design will begin in 2025 with details to follow as the project takes shape.

Potential Parks & Recreation Improvement Projects includes 4 major areas.

The final plans may vary from the following descriptions.

Parks and Recreation facilities, such as those mentioned on this website, are major municipal infrastructure projects with the purpose of improving the quality of life for citizens in the community. The facilities included below range from active recreation sports fields and swimming pools to passive recreation park spaces. The Parks and Recreation bond enhances public spaces in Downtown Bentonville with high-quality parks, playgrounds, public gardens, and plazas, transforming the Downtown Square into a cultural destination. By adding these improvements, the park system will be more accessible to residents and can be utilized as an economic tool to recruit sports tournaments, swim competitions, community events and festivals.

8th Street Gateway Park / West Bentonville Trails

As identified in both the Play Bentonville Plan and Connect Bentonville Plan, adding parks and trails west of Walton Boulevard remains a key initiative for the City of Bentonville. Based on impressive growth in the community, approximately 58% of local citizens reside west of Walton Boulevard. The 8th Street Gateway Park is a 100 acre campus designed to be a signature landmark and serve as an epicenter of the local park system. After a thorough public input process, citizens expressed interest in using the land for a passive recreation space with amenities such as: trails, playgrounds, splash parks, food truck plaza, skate parks, pump tracks, court games, public gardens, and more. The park will be accessible by both vehicle and bicycle, connecting via trail to Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, the future 28th Street Park, Osage Park, Lake Bentonville, and Citizens Park / Bentonville Community Center. This $5MM investment, along with investments from the private sector, will result in a $15MM major park space that will enrich lives through recreation, leisure, and culture for generations.

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Quilt of Parks

Downtown Bentonville has become the epicenter for public events and festivals for Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas. Events like First Friday, Farmers Market, Bentonville Film Festival, Bentonville Half Marathon, and more call Downtown Bentonville home. The Quilt of Parks Master Plan identifies noteworthy improvements for the public spaces in Downtown Bentonville. These improvements will enhance local events, creating a year-round destination for all to enjoy.

This bond issue focuses on two projects within the Quilt of Parks Master Plan. The renovation of Dave Peel Park serves as the first major project. Established as a public park in 1973, Dave Peel Park is known as the community’s playground. The popularity of this downtown destination is heightened with the proximity to the Downtown Square, along with the added safety reassurance of a fenced playground giving parents peace of mind as their children play. The redesigned park layout builds upon the play value of the current space by adding a modern and secure playground destination, restrooms, and enhanced plaza area. This connects directly with A Street Promenade, a pedestrian-only walkway that ties the areas together with outdoor dining, retail, event, and entertainment space available.

The next proposed project, the Bentonville Commons, at the south end of SE A Street, transforms a present-day parking lot into a plaza/activity space. With the construction and opening of three parking garages in Downtown Bentonville, vehicles will be relocated to several new parking options. This allows the City of Bentonville to return the space to citizens by creating a dedicated event setting perfectly suited for activities such as Farmers Market, Friday Night Movies, musical performances, etc. Additionally, the plaza area offers outdoor dining opportunities for adjacent restaurants and easy connectivity to businesses on South Main Street.

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Phillips Park Renovation

This project consists of a complete renovation for Phillips Park. The proposal highlights the extensive park expansion to a 50-acre sports complex, reconfiguring the existing design and adding multiple, tournament-quality sports fields for youth and adult recreation. To further complement the additional playfields, the renovation project includes new sports lights, restroom facilities, batting cages, playgrounds, splash park, passive recreation space, greenspace, and parking. The transformation will put Bentonville on the map as a baseball destination, allowing the city to host state and national sports tournaments while providing a boost to the local economy during months of seasonal play. It also creates a destination park for families living in the southeast part of the community.

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Melvin Ford Aquatic Center

Anchoring the recreational amenities at Memorial Park, the 50-meter pool at Melvin Ford Aquatic Center originally opened in 1993.

Each year, the pool is a hub of activity with 2,000 swimming lessons, competitive and recreational meets hosting 600 swimmers, and swim team practices for over 400 program participants.

In addition, this facility has become an outdoor entertainment destination for Bentonville residents and guests, averaging a total of 35,000 visits each summer. In an effort to enhance play value and improve design function, this project will transform the existing pool structurally and cosmetically by adding a zero-depth entry, shaded play structure, shaded cabanas, new water slides, and a lazy river.

Investment in the facility will result in additional recreational programming to meet the health and wellness needs of the community.

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