Hundreds of walkers, runners, cyclists and regional enthusiasts are expected to come together at noon on Saturday, May 2 to celebrate the grand opening of the Razorback Regional Greenway. The latest schedule of events can be found at this link.
The regional ceremony at Shiloh Square in downtown Springdale is one of the highlights of the day’s events that start earlier that morning with kickoffs planned in Bentonville, Fayetteville and Rogers.
The completion of the 36-mile hard-surface Razorback Regional Greenway from Bella Vista to Fayetteville is one of Northwest Arkansas’ best examples of regional collaboration, bringing together cities, school districts, regional planning organizations, private businesses and foundations that worked together to complete the project.
Planning for the Razorback Regional Greenway began in 2000. The objective was to provide alternative transportation options and improve the quality of life of the region.
The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission and Northwest Arkansas cities dedicated significant resources. The Walton Family Foundation generously donated $15 million as a matching grant and gift. Another $15 million was obtained through a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the Federal Highway Administration.
The trail links major Northwest Arkansas destinations and amenities, including schools, hospitals, shopping centers, parks, churches, the University of Arkansas, major employers and historic sites. Fayetteville’s Dickson Street, the city’s Wilson Park, Lake Fayetteville, downtown Springdale, Lake Springdale, a large commercial district near Mercy Medical Center in Rogers, downtown Bentonville, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Bella Vista Lake are among the primary destinations along the route.
The May 2 activities have an incredible list of partners who’ve made the day of celebration possible. The partners include George’s, The Walton Family Foundation, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, KNWA, Fox 24, the Beaver Water District, the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad and Ozark Regional Transit.
Additional partners include Trifest for MS, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks, The Jones Center, Ozark Off-Road Cyclists, Illinois River Watershed Partnership, Bike Fayetteville, Bike Springdale, the Springdale Police Department, Lowell Historical Museum, Rogers Historical Museum, the Washington County Historical Society, the Benton County Historical Society, Bella Vista Museum, Washington County Master Gardeners and the Benton County Master Gardeners.
A more exact schedule of the May 2 events is listed below:
9 a.m. — Bentonville City Kickoff at Downtown Activity Center (DAC). A group ride will take people from the center to the grand opening event in Springdale.
9:30 a.m. — Rogers City Kickoff at Mercy Trailhead. Rogers Mayor Greg Hines will read a proclamation and Rogers cyclists will be joined by those coming south from Bentonville. They’ll ride together to the Springdale grand opening.
9:30 a.m. — Fayetteville City Kickoff near where the Razorback Regional Greenway crosses Dickson Street. The ceremony will be followed by a group ride to the Springdale grand opening ceremony. The Fayetteville kickoff event had previously been scheduled for 10 a.m. but it was moved up to ensure that individuals in Fayetteville would have the opportunity to catch the free ride on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad to the downtown Springdale celebration.
Noon — The Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting and Speeches at Shiloh Square in downtown Springdale.
Other events occurring during the day wll be a bike share demo station set up by B Cycle in downtown Springdale (starting at 11 a.m.), guided history walks at various locations along the greenway (2 p.m.) and guided horticulture walks in various locations (3 p.m.).
Additionally, the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad and Ozark Regional Transit will be providing free rides to locations along the trail. Their service should make it easier for those who walked or rode bicycles on the greenway to reach the site of the Springdale celebration to return to where their day started. The train and the buses will be transporting bicycles.