Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fayetteville Drops Thoughts of Action Over Walton Arts Center Expansion

It seems the drama over action by the City of Fayetteville regarding a new Walton Arts Center in Bentonville has died a natural death.

When the announcement was first made that WAC would build a 2,200 seat performing arts center in Bentonville as well as a new 600 seat facility adjacent to the existing site in Fayetteville, there was talk about a lawsuit which, if successful, would deny WAC the right to build anywhere but in Fayetteville.

That idea did not gain much support. Next came a resolution put forth by two members of Fayetteville city council to renegotiate the current agreement with WAC, which does not expire until 2017. The resolution would require the renegotiation in order to make certain an equitable distribution of fundraising and programming for Fayetteville’s WAC.

That proposal was defeated 6-2 at a city council meeting last week.

Walton Arts Center staff has stated that it is committed to maintaining quality arts and entertainment in Fayetteville.

I think we should all move forward. It shouldn’t be Fayetteville vs. Bentonville. It should be what is good for all of Northwest Arkansas.

For more information:

My blog post a few weeks ago
Fayetteville Flyer blog

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Came Early to NW Arkansas

In this time of giving and good will the announcement last week seemed appropriate. Grants totaling $80,000 were awarded to local NW Arkansas non-profit groups.

The funds came from the 2010 Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally, which was held in early fall. It’s a substantial increase from 2009 grants of $45,000. I think the 2010 grants bring the grand total to more than $600,000 since BBQ’s first rally in 2000.

Donations went to many worthwhile organizations in NW Arkansas – Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club, Meals on Wheels, Horses for Healing, Seven Hills Homeless Center, Youth Bridge, Big House Youth Outreach, and more. A complete list of all grants will be available later.

Bikes, Blues and BBQ is the only rally in the country that donates all proceeds to charities. It brings together bikers from all over the country, thousands and thousands of spectators, family fun, food, entertainment, and contests. Its very presence is a big boost to the local economy.

Turning all profits over to non-profit organizations is only icing on the cake.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Plans Announced for Walton Arts Center(s) Expansion

Bentonville will be the location of a new 2,200-seat Walton Arts Center. Hardly anyone was surprised at this news.

Several months ago, Walton Arts Center-Fayetteville was notified that the Walton Family Foundation would be lead donor only if the expansion were in Bentonville. This statement was crystal clear but it did not preclude proposals by various entities to build it elsewhere.

Fayetteville and University of Arkansas presented a joint proposal to expand the existing site in Fayetteville. Springdale proposed building a new WAC near the ballpark, which offered excellent access to I-540. Rogers offered a proposal and some individual landowners also made proposals.

So a new, larger performing arts center will be built at or near downtown Bentonville, but Fayetteville also received good news. A new 600-seat facility will be built adjacent to the beautiful, existing WAC. I believe this announcement intrinsically means Walton Family Foundation will continue to be the major supporter for Fayetteville WAC sites.

Exactly what “adjacent” to WAC means will be determined later.

As far as that goes, there are a lot of things to be determined in the future. Site selection, funding, timetables, cooperation from and with local governments, and space for additional parking in Fayetteville.

Talk of expansion has been ongoing for at least two years. Big deals take time and this is a big deal. The announcement by Walton Family Foundation is a win-win for both Bentonville and Fayetteville. To stop its support for WAC-Fayetteville would have been catastrophic for the city.
The announcement is certainly wonderful news for all of Northwest Arkansas.

But the drama is not all on-stage. The attorney for the City of Fayetteville is of the opinion that agreements signed in the past bind WAC to be located only in Fayetteville. He opines that Fayetteville should sue to stop the Bentonville site. At this point no official action has been taken. In the meantime, University of Arkansas issued a statement that it will not support a lawsuit. And in today’s paper, some Fayetteville officials have gone on the record against litigation, seeing it as divisive and counter productive.

The future looks bright to me. Let’s leave the drama to the actors. I’m all for culture, the arts, and good entertainment. The Walton Family Foundation has done and continues to do many good works for the people of Northwest Arkansas.

For more information:

Walton Arts Center
Walton Arts Center Expansion Plans

Friday, December 03, 2010

New Outdoor Ice Skating Rink Opens in Bentonville

A beautiful new facility just opened in Bentonville’s Ernie G. Lawrence Plaza, just a block or so off the square. It includes an outdoor skating rink for winter and will be converted to an interactive water feature during warm months. What fun!

Ice skating is a wonderful activity for people of all ages. I grew up in Northern Minnesota-- hockey country--where I learned to skate on a rink like this. I spent many hours in the cold outdoors and it was exhilarating (but thank goodness also for warming shacks). I also tried my hand at ice hockey, even though it was a "boy sport" then.

For the most part, it doesn’t get cold enough here in NW Arkansas to find a safe outdoor venue for ice skating – until now. Bentonville’s latest contribution to quality of life now provides this opportunity to the public. Only $3 to skate and skates can be rented for only $2 more.

I’m still trying to figure out how they can keep the ice frozen when the temperature gets above freezing. The recent nippy days and nights are usually the exception rather than the rule, as it gets up to the 40s or even 50s during the day during our Arkansas winters. But if there is a secret formula for the ice, more power to the city of Bentonville.

The Jones Center for Families in Springdale has offered a big, beautiful indoor skating rink for the past 15 years and it is open year round. People can simply skate, learn figure skating, play in hockey leagues, or go curling. The rink provides fun for ages 4 to 104 (I don’t think anyone has reached maximum age yet!)

If you’ve never ice skated and would like to get inspired, here’s a great feature-length documentary for the whole family to watch.