The Walton Family Foundation has unveiled plans for Osage Park, an adventure-based outdoor destination in Bentonville, Arkansas, that will engage visitors of all ages, interests, and abilities. Once complete, the urban park will offer opportunities to fish, explore the wetlands, and enjoy local music. The park will help meet the demand for recreational green spaces south of Walton Boulevard, where 58 percent of residents currently live, according to the City of Bentonville.
“Osage Park will deliver a unique outdoor experience for visitors by creating a gathering place near Thaden Field and Lake Bentonville Park,” said Steuart Walton. “Our community’s environment also stands to benefit, as the park will preserve additional green space and improve water quality in the Illinois River Watershed.”
Osage Park will be located on 55 acres on I Street near Thaden Field. Aviation, art, and preservation are the themes that inspired the park’s design. The current lake will be expanded by more than 6 acres for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding and will include multiple piers, platforms, and banks for fishing. There will be a diverse range of amenities, including a multipurpose lawn, an aviation-themed play active zone, pickleball courts, multi-use trails, and floating boardwalks that offer a first-hand look at the site’s 12-acre wetland system. The park will also feature an open pavilion, intimate music venue, and 84 parking spaces.
The connectivity between Osage Park and Lake Bentonville Park, which is currently under renovation, will enhance the overall outdoor experience. At Lake Bentonville Park, visitors will be able to take advantage of an expanded lake, a destination playground, and a pavilion with boardwalks and fishing piers. For further accessibility, both parks will have ADA-compliant parking lots.
“The renovation of Lake Bentonville, when paired with the seamless connection to the new Osage Park, will prove more than the traditional park opening,” said David Wright, City of Bentonville director of parks and recreation. “These next-generation parks will provide our citizens public spaces that will have an immediate impact on our community. From preserving wetlands to providing areas for social and passive recreation, Osage Park and Lake Bentonville will offer something everyone can enjoy.”
The Walton Family Foundation is supporting the development of Osage Park and improvements to Lake Bentonville Park as part of its efforts to improve quality of life in Northwest Arkansas. According to the foundation’s recently released Quality of Life Survey, parks are the most-used amenities in the region, with 81 percent of residents reporting accessing a park in the last 12 months.
Select areas of Osage Park are scheduled to open to the public summer 2020.