Citizens Park trail construction gets go-ahead
BENTONVILLE — Citizens Park visitors may have a hard-surface trail to use before year’s end because the City Council approved the construction contract.
The 1-mile Citizens Park Fitness Trail will loop around the Bentonville Community Center and connect all the amenities on the grounds and the Heritage Trail — which connects to the Trail of Two Cities — as well as the neighborhoods south and west of the center.
It’s the next step in the park’s development. The park constitutes the 24 acres around the center, which opened in June 2015. The city added multipurpose fields in the fall of 2015. A restroom and concession followed last year.
“This project will finally be able to show visible progress towards providing additional public recreation amenities to the citizens of SW Bentonville,” David Wright, parks and recreation director, wrote in memo to council members.
The council approved a $248,910 contract Tuesday with the 81 Construction Group to build the trail. The firm, based in Gentry, was the lowest of nine bidders, according to meeting documents.
The balance from building the center as well as a $75,000 grant from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will pay for the trail.
Construction should begin in mid-September and be completed by the end of the year, according to Wright’s memo.
The trail should provide a safe outdoor path. Now, people walk, run and bike on the road circling the building.
Bentonville resident Ryan Boyle and his two children, ages 5 and 7, live about a half-mile from the Community Center and often walk on the road, he said before heading into the building Friday.
The road is wide enough and traffic speeds are slow enough he’s never felt like they’ve been in danger, but said sometimes they’ll step up on the grass to move out of the way.
He said the trail will be a great addition to the park.
“We’d definitely use that more than the road,” he said, adding it also will be more convenient to connect to the trail system.
Plans are in the works for a 14,440-square-foot pavilion and a 15-space parking lot in the park’s northwest corner as well as a circular stage for the amphitheater next to the center’s west side. The city hired Morrison Shipley in March to design, bid and oversee the construction of that project.
An inclusive playground, which also has equipment accessible for children with special needs, and a tennis court complex are also in the park’s plans.
Citizens Park will provide much-needed park and green space in the city’s southwest
corner, Ward 3 Alderman Bill Burckart has said.
“Having different amenities for pedestrians and bikes makes it a live-work area,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do throughout town.”
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