Walton Family Foundation Gives $3.6 Million in Grants To NWA Cities

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- Four cities have received grants Thursday (Nov. 16) totaling $3.6 million from the Walton Family Foundation to enhance downtowns and urban parks.

The cities that received the grants are Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville.

In March the foundation asked local governments and nonprofits to submit grant applications for the design excellence program.

The Downtown Springdale Alliance was one recipient and received more than $600,000 dollars.

Executive Director Kelly Syer said they will use this money for the expansion and renovation of Luther George Park in downtown.

“It’s a very high use facility now and we’re really excited to have this opportunity to bring just world class design to downtown Springdale and look at the overall open space plan and how that fits into our downtown strategy,” she said.

Syer also said they will be asking the public for their input as the project gets started. She said they are very appreciative to receive this money because this project would be difficult to fund otherwise.

“It just gives us an opportunity to be strategic in how we spend the public’s money and make sure that we develop a project that is really going to serve generations to come,” she said.

The $800,000 the City of Rogers received will fund the design work for Frisco Park in downtown. The city wants to make the park more functional.

“One thing that we’ve done very recently is added the bicycle park, the bike park, improvements to Lake Atalanta. And we need to create a better transition for people to transition from the eastside of downtown Rogers down to this part west of the tracks that’s beginning to develop,” John McCurdy said.

Rogers Director of Community Development John McCurdy said this park is a reflection of the city’s heritage because the city grew around the railroad.

“It began when the railroad decided to put tracks here. So we memorialized that with our park. At the same time we need to look forward and we need for that park to have the same level of design and excellence that we’ve put into the rest of downtown and the city,” he said.

The City of Bentonville also got money it'll put toward of a “Quilt of Parks” in downtown and to redesign Dave Peel Park.

The City of Fayetteville plans to use the funds to design a series of open spaces downtown.