All of Northwest Arkansas is growing, but not at the rate which people are flowing into Bentonville.
No one can see the future, but one city department is doing their best to use a crystal ball.
“In 2008, I went on a run, it was a Saturday morning, I saw zero people. If you go out on a Saturday now, you’ll run by 1,000 people on that same trail. In nine years, it’s mind-boggling,” said Mike Rush, a man who has lived in Bentonville for nine years.
Bentonville is growing at an astronomical rate.
According to the Northwest Arkansas Council, no city in the state of Arkansas added more people than Bentonville between July 2015 and 2016.
Those sudden increases come with consequences.
“We lost a friend in our training group 2 years ago who got hit by a car on the freeway,” Rush said. “So it’s very real in our world.”
Bentonville is one of the fastest-growing communities in Northwest Arkansas. So the Parks and Recreation Department wants to make sure that every voice is heard when it comes to developing a ten-year plan for this booming city.
Today’s session showcased blueprints for future plans to expand the city’s parks and connect pre-existing trails.
Bentonville Parks and Rec hopes to create a safer environment for outdoor enthusiasts because they know the population is only going to increase.
“We’ve become a destination, not just to visit or to work, but to live. And so I hope what we are in 10 years is a place that is as livable to reside in as it is today. Hopefully we have the same personality that there is a lot of big city amenities but also the small-town roots,” said David Wright, the director for Bentonville Parks and Recreation.
So, what will Bentonville look like in 2027?
“I think we’ll see a city that is well beyond 60,000 in population. And we’ll be challenged to provide those services that are very basic that the people expect,” said Bob McCaslin, the Mayor of Bentonville.