Bentonville Plans To Expand Downtown Beyond Square

The downtown scene in Bentonville may grow south of the square if a plan is approved by the city council Tuesday (Jan. 28).

Two areas southeast of the square would be developed into districts for the arts and a market. The plan was approved planning commission members Jan. 21.

The arts district would cater to the art community that boomed after Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and 21C Museum Hotel moved into town, according to city documents.

The market district would take over the area where the old Tyson Chicken plant, Ice House and Kraft plant are located. It could house a year-round farmer’s market, new restaurants, wholesale food suppliers, micro-breweries and coffee roasters, according to Troy Galloway, the Bentonville community and economic development director.

The downtown master plan was adopted by city council members in 2006. About 90 percent of the tasks in the original plan to develop the square have been reached, according to Galloway. Moving forward, city planners decided to focus in on certain areas to accommodate for population growth in the city.

“Obviously a downtown is the beating heart of a city and if you’ve got a healthy heart, more times than not, you’ve got a healthy city,” Galloway said.

Michael Wallace has live in Bentonville for about five years and said the growth makes him want to stay, instead of moving to a different city.

“With the increase in population and having more things to do, more restaurants, more places to go,” Wallace said. “I think it would just be absolutely wonderful.”


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