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What do Crystal Bridges, Scott Family Amazeum, Runway Bike Park and the Razorback Greenway all have in common? None of these places existed 10 years ago but, taken together, these amenities have elevated NW Arkansas to one of the best places to live in the country. In this post, we take a digital tour of some of the newest additions and expansions that are sure to have a positive impact on the region’s quality-of-life.
Bentonville, AR

Convergence

Crystal Bridges is making way for a four-acre community playscape called Convergence and a parking deck with programmable space on the southeast side of Crystal Bridges’ campus. The collaborative project by the Scott Family Amazeum and Crystal Bridges, will be a robust, outdoor, family play space inspired by arts, science, nature, and design, inclusive for guests of all ages. The space will invite visitors to step off the trail and into a park that uses the natural surroundings to engage the senses with interactive elements and water features that mimic the Ozark landscape.

The timeline is still in development and will be shared at a later date.

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Springdale, AR

Ozark Highlands Nature Center

Projected to open in the next month or so, the $18 million J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Ozark Highlands Nature Center will bring the indoors and outdoors together to create exhibits dedicated to conservation, restoration and education. The 61-acre complex will include an outdoor 3-D archery range, a northern bobwhite education pavilion, walking and biking trails, a 25-acre native tallgrass prairie restoration project, native plant demonstration gardens and outdoor classrooms. Indoors, visitors will be able to take advantage of another archery range, participate in hands-on classes in one of three classrooms, and explore the state-of-the art exhibits featuring the wildlife and seasons of the Ozarks. Also, a spur of the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway will pass through the nature center site giving trail users access to a bike plaza and fix-it station.

In July, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced Schelly Corry, the former vice president of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama with an extensive career in education and exhibit planning and management, will lead the team at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s newest nature center.

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Springdale, AR

Ozark Highlands Nature Center

Projected to open in the next month or so, the $18 million J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Ozark Highlands Nature Center will bring the indoors and outdoors together to create exhibits dedicated to conservation, restoration and education. The 61-acre complex will include an outdoor 3-D archery range, a northern bobwhite education pavilion, walking and biking trails, a 25-acre native tallgrass prairie restoration project, native plant demonstration gardens and outdoor classrooms. Indoors, visitors will be able to take advantage of another archery range, participate in hands-on classes in one of three classrooms, and explore the state-of-the art exhibits featuring the wildlife and seasons of the Ozarks. Also, a spur of the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway will pass through the nature center site giving trail users access to a bike plaza and fix-it station.

In July, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced Schelly Corry, the former vice president of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama with an extensive career in education and exhibit planning and management, will lead the team at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s newest nature center.

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Rogers, AR

Railyard Park

Expected to be completed next year, the urban park is currently under construction in downtown Rogers and will include:

  • a children’s play area that includes an authentic retired Mi-Jack crane serving as both “gateway and a piece of play equipment”
  • a splash pad dubbed the Water Stop
  • a sprawling pavilion for large gatherings and live events with an old industrial building at the site serving as a backstage and concession area
  • Frisco Plaza, a versatile and low-key social space lined with trees and shading structures as well as wheeled picnic benches that can be moved around the site

The park will also connect to Lake Atalanta and the revamped Railyard Bike Park, which should open a little later this fall.

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Fayetteville, AR

Fayetteville Public Library

The $50 million expansion, set to open in late November or early December, will add 82,500 square feet to the Fayetteville Public Library—which nearly doubles its current footprint. With the expansion, the library expects to redefine what a library can provide: the project will double the size of the youth services area, add an audio/video recording studio, virtual reality room, photography studio, a teaching kitchen, a 700-seat multipurpose center, an outdoor courtyard, meeting and collaboration space, and more.

The Hunt family recently donated $5 million to the expansion project, the largest single donation in the Fayetteville Public Library’s history.

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Fayetteville, AR

Fayetteville Public Library

The $50 million expansion, set to open in late November or early December, will add 82,500 square feet to the Fayetteville Public Library—which nearly doubles its current footprint. With the expansion, the library expects to redefine what a library can provide: the project will double the size of the youth services area, add an audio/video recording studio, virtual reality room, photography studio, a teaching kitchen, a 700-seat multipurpose center, an outdoor courtyard, meeting and collaboration space, and more.

The Hunt family recently donated $5 million to the expansion project, the largest single donation in the Fayetteville Public Library’s history.

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Bentonville, AR

28th Street Park

The design phase of the newest park in Bentonville recently hit the 50% mark. The 25-acre park, called 28th Street Park, will be another addition to the city’s looped trail system and include:

  • two regulation-size cricket pitches and practice field
  • two pavilions near an open-space area
  • an innovative playground and an epic splash park
  • and a 2½-acre dog park with creek access

28th Street is yet another link in the chain of spectacular parks along the westside of Bentonville, which includes the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, Osage Park and Citizens Park. Up next: 8th Street Gateway Park

The current timeline for construction on the 28th Street park is set for early 2021.

Video Update

Next time someone asks you to describe our region, you only need to utter a single word: unparalleled.

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