Aug 23, 2023 - Development

Bentonville gears up to build its Quilt of Parks

Illustration of a roll of turf opening to reveal flowers, a bee, and a mushroom.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Downtown Bentonville's outdoor spaces are about to get a little more lively.

What's happening: The city expects to start work soon on the Quilt of Parks project, which has been planned for years to renovate and connect downtown parks.

The big picture: The goal is to create a walkable experience between six connected parks, parks and recreation director David Wright told Axios.

The intrigue: Northeast A Street — from Southeast Second to Northeast Second streets (about a quarter of a mile) — will no longer be open to vehicular traffic. It will instead become A Street Promenade, where pedestrians can walk from Dave Peel Park past the square all the way up to Lawrence Plaza, where the ice skating rink operates during the winter.

  • The brick walkway will have trees, public art, seating and space for outdoor dining. It'll also be safer because people won't have to walk next to cars or cross streets, and it'll keep cars farther from vendors at events like the farmers market.
  • What's next: The city plans to start with the smallest of the projects: restoring and beautifying Town Branch Park. Ideally, construction will start in mid-September and take six months to complete.
  • Wright expects construction on A Street Promenade to start Oct. 1. It will be done in four phases, starting with the section in front of Lawrence Plaza, and take 16-18 months.

Details: Dave Peel Park, which currently includes a playground, and the parking lot next to it will eventually include an amphitheater with seating for about 200 people, space for food trucks and a "destination" playground. The details are TBD, but kids can plan on having some new, upscale playground equipment.

  • Construction will likely start next March and take a year to complete.
  • Preserving the green space between City Hall and the Downtown Activity Center is also on the list but construction is at least two years away as the city first plans to expand City Hall.

By the numbers: In total, the Quilt of Parks project should cost about $31 million.

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