Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

NW Arkansas Razorback Greenway Comes to Life

Years of planning and millions of dollars are bringing the Razorback Greenway close to completion. The result will be 36 interconnected miles of paved trails reaching from south Fayetteville to Bella Vista. Untold miles of side trails will carry users to the Razorback.

Between the two cities mentioned, the trail will run through Johnson, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville.

A $15 million grant from the U.S. Transportation Department’s Investment Generating Economic Recovery Fund was offered if an equal amount in matching funds could be raised. The Walton Family Foundation, a longtime supporter of trails and greenways, pledged $15 million to make the grant possible. Additionally, the Walton Family Foundation gave approximately $8 million to hire a planning and design team early in the formation process to ensure overall guidance. Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and many of the six affected cities also provided funding.

The Razorback Greenway connects the University of Arkansas, several hospitals and schools, NW Arkansas’ big three headquarters (Wal-Mart, Tyson, and J.B. Hunt), parks and playgrounds, art and entertainment venues and much more. People will have increased opportunities to bike to jobs and use the trail for lunchtime exercise.

Some people might question the feasibility of spending so much money on trails. Yes, it’s true highways and secondary roads are needed. It’s also true that not everyone bikes, walks or runs for exercise and enjoyment.

However, the reality is that the Razorback Greenway will be a major economic boon to Northwest Arkansas. In fact, the boon has started. A few cafes and bicycle shops were the first to open businesses along the trail. That’s only natural.

Visitors are already coming to NW Arkansas to take advantage of the trail, the beauty of the Ozarks, and the friendliness of our people. When they come here, they bring money with them to spend for restaurants, lodging, recreation, and shopping. Studies show proximity to trails and open space increases property values and marketability of homes.

Need I even mention the health benefits achieved by local residents using the trail to bike, walk, and jog? Having opportunities to be outside and enjoying nature improves mental health as well. Build an accessible and safe greenway and people will use it.

Some estimates run as high as $100 million in increased revenue for NW Arkansas. I have to question how that can be determined at this early stage. But I am confident economic benefits, including job creation, will increase to a major degree. It has happened in other cities across the nation. It will happen here.

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