Parks & Recreation
February 2022 Update
8th Street Gateway Park
Parks and Rec Staff continues to work with Park Designers to create construction plans for the 8th Street Gateway Park. This facility’s plans are currently 30% complete and are in the process of being reviewed and priced by the park’s Construction Manager (CM). Once the CM returns with an present-day price tag, the design team can proceed with determining the number of amenities to draw into the final park plans.
Project remains on pace to be bid in late 2023 with construction beginning in 2024.
Parks and Recreation Staff is currently working on preliminary conceptual designs for Phillips Park. You can see in the draft image below, the park has the potential for ten (10) full sized ballfields, batting cages, inclusive playground, food truck park, parking and a maintenance support area. The final park layout will be approved by Parks and Recreation Board sometime in early 2022. After that construction documents will be finalized with construction beginning in summer 2023.
Downtown Quilt of Parks
As designers and city staff finalize the park layouts of the Dave Peel Park and Plaza, much work has focused on the promenade. The A Street Promenade will be a pedestrian mall that features retail, culinary, art and cultural experiences. The promenade will connect Crystal Bridges to the north to the future Commons Plaza to the south. Between, the Promenade will feature amenities such as Lawrence Plaza, 21c Hotel, a public art garden, and expanded downtown square space, outdoor dining experiences and more. Design is currently at the 30% mark. But we are optimistic that work on the project can begin in the first half of 2023.
Melvin Ford Aquatic Center
Project planning and design will being 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.
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.
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.
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.