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NWA Razorback Greenway Groundbreaking, June 12 | Community Spirit

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NWA Razorback Greenway Groundbreaking, June 12
NWA Razorback Greenway Groundbreaking, June 12

The public is encouraged to attend a ground-breaking ceremony being held to celebrate construction of the NW Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway; which begins with two phases of the project that are located in Rogers, AR.  The event will be held at 11:00 a.m. on June 12, 2012, at the end of the existing trail near Mercy Hospital, Best Buy, and Promenade Mall in Rogers, Arkansas.

The ceremony will begin with a welcome from John McLarty, project manager for the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission. Representatives from the Federal Highway Administration; the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department; NW Arkansas Council; mayors from each community; multiple engineering, design, and acquisition-related companies; and many other public and community organizations in the NW Arkansas region who helped steer the project to today’s reality will also be in attendance. Chuck Flink, president of Alta/Greenways and lead designer for the Greenway, will describe the multitude and magnitude of benefits that the greenway will provide to NW Arkansas. The digging of the first symbolic spades for this regional project will conclude the event.

The first two construction phases of the project will connect existing segments of the greenway on the three sides of the New Hope Road interchange at Exit 83 to each other as well as to the highly-visible “Bridge to the Future” at Exit 82. Both projects are within the Interstate 540 right-of-way. Future phases in Springdale, Lowell, and southern Rogers will start construction later this year with completion of the entire greenway scheduled for December 2013. When complete, the 36-mile trail will provide safe routes of travel for cyclists and pedestrians from Bentonville to Fayetteville that are designed for minimal interaction with vehicular traffic. The project is being funded through a federal TIGER II (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant of $15 million, and with matching funds from the Walton Family Foundation.

John McLarty states, “We are one step closer to connecting our communities in Northwest Arkansas with a world-class greenway facility. This segment of trail is just the beginning of active living, ecologic enhancement, and economic development for our area. People from around the country will travel to NW Arkansas to use this greenway and experience the culture, history, and beauty of our region.”

The Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway is a 36-mile long, primarily off-road, shared-use concrete and asphalt trail that will extend from Lake Bella Vista to the Frisco Trail in Fayetteville. The trail will link many popular destinations including six downtown areas; three major hospitals; nearly two dozen public and private schools; the NorthWest Arkansas Community College; the University of Arkansas; the corporate headquarters of WalMart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt Transport; arts and entertainment venues that include Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, historic sites, parks, and playgrounds; many shopping and commercial developments; and thousands of residential areas. Municipalities outside the current design’s reach are already looking for ways to connect their cities to this regional spine while those within the existing system are expanding into new areas of their towns - to both help make those connections possible as well as to better serve more of their population and visitors.

The Razorback Regional Greenway has been a goal of regional planners, cities, and residents of Northwest Arkansas for more than two decades. This vision was supported by the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, which in 2000 began a long-range transportation planning process that included regional trails as a key component. Just three years ago the multiple cities of the region had unconnected systems, but there were city representatives who were beginning to glimpse a regional dream which led to today’s construction of a unifying system. Input for locating the greenway was solicited from cycling organizations; residents; developers; municipalities’ parks, recreation, planning, streets and public works departments; Chambers of Commerce; merchant organizations; those already using the separate municipal trails systems when the dream began; and anyone else willing to express an opinion on route options. In less than 6 months during 2010, the project went from a map of all the disconnected city systems to a regional design that was recognized at the national level by the awarding of the TIGER II funding - one of only two trails that were awarded funding and one of more than a thousand applications from across the entire United States.

For more info: http://www.razorbackgreenway.com/

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