Walmart donates 75 acres for ‘destination park’ in Bentonville

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 10,863 views 

Walmart Inc. announced Friday (Dec. 6) a sizable land donation to the city of Bentonville. And it may offer a clue of what the area surrounding the company’s existing home office may one day look like.

The company said it has gifted two parcels totaling roughly 75 acres west of the intersection of Southwest 8th and  Southwest I streets. The land is expected to be developed into a park. The property is situated near Walmart’s existing home office at the corner of 8th and Walton.

“The holidays are a time for giving, so it’s appropriate to share Walmart’s latest gift to the people of its hometown,” Walmart executive vice president Dan Bartlett wrote in a blog post announcing the land donation. Bartlett said when combined with 23 acres nearby donated by the Walton family, the new park will cover nearly 100 acres.

According to online property records, Benton County appraisers within the past two years put a combined value of $5.11 million on the 100 acres.

Walmart also owns an additional 34 acres of undeveloped property to the west of the 23 acres donated by the Walton family. There was no mention of development plans for that property in Friday’s announcement.

The type of park to be developed will be determined by the city, which will begin seeking public input about ideas in the first half of 2020.

The design and development of the park will be supported by a $494,000 Walton Family Foundation grant.

“The 8th Street property will become the epicenter of our parks and trails network,” Bentonville Parks and Recreation Director David Wright said in a statement. “The location, the access and visibility are the perfect recipe for a destination park to serve our residents and attract visitors for generations to come.”

The Bentonville City Council is expected to have the park as a topic on its agenda in an upcoming meeting.

Bartlett said it is the company’s hope that bike trails will connect the new park to the new Walmart home office campus roughly 1.5 miles to the east. It’s in development on 350 acres along the east side of J Street, between Central Avenue and 14th Street (Arkansas Highway 102).

The initial demolition of several structures at the new corporate campus has already started, and work has also begun on utilities. The project will continue in phases with the first unit expected to open in 2020 and full campus completion by 2024.

“As we recruit top talent from around the globe, we will continue to invest in Bentonville to help make it a great place to live, work and play,” Bartlett wrote.

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