Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Removing the Kinks at NW Arkansas’ Professional Baseball Stadium

Springdale’s brand new baseball stadium opened April 10 to a full house of cheering fans, including Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, Springdale Mayor Jerry Van Hoose, team owners, celebrities, and a flyover by four A-10 Thunderbolts from the Arkansas Air National Guard.

The stadium is beautiful by all accounts but now that the festivities are over, a few kinks need to be worked out – most notably traffic and parking.

Opening night traffic was congested in all directions but 56th Street was probably the worst of all. Of course, it was a sell-out crowd but one would have to hope that big crowds continue to come to the park.

There has been talk of widening 56th Street as well as possibly creating a new exit to the park directly off I-540, both of which would take a lot of money and time.

But, let’s face it; people will not be happy about spending an hour or more in traffic just to get to the stadium.

If development as envisioned by the City of Springdale is to occur in that area, the roads must be improved. It’s that simple!

Moving on to parking (no pun intended), much has to be fixed. The number of parking spaces (1,700) is insufficient for a big crowd. I have never been able to understand how the number of parking spaces is determined when building a new venue. Surely there’s a formula somewhere that needs to be reworked! For example, the new stadium can hold 7,800 fans but has parking for only 1,700 vehicles. That’s roughly 4 1/2 people per car, not counting players and workers. Maybe a lesson from Disney on people moving is in order.

If you think that’s worthy of note, you should have been at the Komen Race for the Cure April 19, which started at the ballpark. At least 17,000 people participated. Tents were set up in the parking lot so even fewer parking spaces were available. Shuttle buses ran from other parking lots but even at that, parking was a total mess.

The City of Springdale has rights to the stadium for concerts throughout the summer with seating for up to 12,000 people. I’m already wondering where those people will park.

I don’t mean to take anything away from the stadium or professional baseball in NW Arkansas, but the reality is that major enhancements will be needed for the success of the entire venture. By the way, the Naturals lost their opening game and have had more losses than wins since then.

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